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The collection of Gaelic Proverbs and Phrases, on 
which the present collection is based, was first published 
at Edinburgh in 1785. Some account of the compiler 
and the publication will be found at the end of this 
volume. Though small in bulk, and in several respects 
defective, Macintosh's collection was a valuable contri- 
bution to Celtic Literature. It was at that time, and 
has continued to be, the only collection of Celtic 
Proverbs gathered into a book, and translated for the 
benefit of the world. It had the still greater msrit of 
being a genuine product of the past, the editor's share 
in the compilation of which consisted in simply giving 
as correctly as he could the words of sayings familiar to 
the people among whom he lived, rendering them into 
English, and occasionally illustrating them by an ex- 
planation, an anecdote, or a parallel. 

Macintosh contemplated a new edition some time 
before his death, which took place in 1808, and a new 
dedication, to Sir John Macgregor Murray of Lanrick, 
was found among his papers. But the second edition, 
which did not appear till 1819, shows no other mark 
of his hand, Tlie additions to the collection were 
probably found among his papers, but the new editor, 
Alexander Campbell (author of ' The Grampians Deso- 

late,' and other works), says nothing on the suliject. A 
short memoir of Macintosh forms the Preface, and may 
fairly be characterised as a curiosity in Biography. 
The title-page says that the collection is 'Englished 
anew,' and the claim is well founded, much of the 
English being of a very novel kind. The ignorance 
of the elements of Gaelic displayed in some of the new 
translations is still more extraordinary, often so ludi- 
crous, as to make it matter of wonder and regret that 
Campbell ventured on the task.^ Macintosh's transla- 
tions are on the whole creditable, sometimes happy ; 
the new ones substituted for them are rarely changes 
for the better; much oftener they give nonsense for 
sense, and turgid commonplace for pithiness. A few 
specimens are given below.^ The spelhng in the new 

^ It is with compunction that one speaks thus of a man for 
vrhom both Burns and Scott had some regard, and to whom we 
are in that respect indebted not a little. Several of Scott's best 
songs, 'Jock of Hazeldeau,' 'Pibroch of Donald Dhu,' 'MacGregor's 
Gathering,' ' MacCrimmon's Lament,' ' Dijnald Caird's come again,' 
were written for 'Albyn's Anthology',' a collection of Scottish 
Songs and Music, edited by Campbell. 

2 ' A lion beagan 'us beagan,' is rendered Fill little and litth' ; 
' B'e sin seangan toirt greim a gearran,' That ivere the cvimei's hiii 
kewailhu) ; 'Cha ghille mur umhailt,' He is not a disobedient man- 
servant ; 'Leintibh farsuin,' &c., Narrow shirts; 'Cha d' ith na 
coin an aimsir,' The dogs did not worry the wether; ' Dalt arain- 
eòrna Mhic Philip,' MacGillip's oat-cake foster-child; 'Gheibh 
bean bhaoth dliith gun cheanuach, 's cha 'n fhaigh i inneach,' A 
wizard's wife will get retribution without buying it, and she will 
not get a cure; ' Leigheas air leth a' losgadh, Burning is half cure; 
Leann dubli air mo chridhe. Black-beer at my heart ; ' Trod nam 
ban mu 'n scarbh,' The xcife's scolding ccboiot the heron (This is 
one of the comparatively few mistranslations of llacintosh) ; 

edition is far worse than in the old, whicli, for tlie 
period when it appeared, may be considered very 

A more remarkable defect in both editions is the 
omission of many of the most familiar and popular 
proverbs and phrases, such as, An la a chi 's nach 
fhaic, Am fcxir a Ihios air dheircadh heiridh a' hhiast 
air, An gad air an robli 'n t-iasg, Am fear a bhios gun 
mhodh, saoilidh e, &c., Aisling caillich, &c., Oach dileas 
gu deireadh, Is treasa tuath na tighcarna, Saoilidh am 
fear a bhios 'n a thamh, &c., Tarruing am bleidir' 
art, &c., &c. 

These various defects in both editions, and the com- 
parative rarity of the book, suggested the present 
edition. The whole original collection has been trans- 
lated anew, so far as that seemed necessary, and the 
additions to it, through the kind assistance of numerous 
friends, have trebled the number of proverbs and 
phrases given by Macintosh. The number in the first 
edition was 1305 ; in the second, 1538 ; in this edition 
it exceeds 3900. 

The coming in of fresh materials from time to time, 
and the desire to make the collection as complete and 
correct as possible, have delayed the publication to a 
degree requiring some apology. Cha bhi luathas agus 
grinneas, a very Celtic sentiment, has perhaps been too 

'Tha 'n uaill an aghaidh an tairbh,' Pride is in the bull's front. 
One specimen of Campbell's grandiloquence may suffice. 'Cha 
'n ann do 'n ghuin an gàire,' is fairly rendered by Macin- 
tosh, Smiles are not companions of pain. Campliell's improved 
version is, The kmgh is not excited by the sharp lancinating pain of 
a stitch. 

influential. But the alphabetical arrriugenipnt was 
decided on from the beginning, as the most useful 
and feasible ; and some of the best additions came at 
the very last.^ 

It is fair also to state, that the most of these valu- 
able new materials were received without translations, 
in most cases without note or comment, and not always 
in the most legible handwriting. Nor will it be new 
to any one who has meddled with Proverbs to hear, 
that the most diverse interpretations of the same saying 
are sometimes given, by persons of the most competent 
qualifications as judges of Folk-Lore. This fact consoles 
one somewhat under the certainty that all the transla- 
tions and explanations will not please everybody. 

We have as yet no absolute standard of Gaelic ortho- 
graphy, and it is no disgrace, considering that William 
Shakespeare spelled his own great name in several 
ways, and that even Samuel Johnson's English spellings 
are not all followed now. Our Gaelic version of the 
Bible is generally accepted by all reasonable persons as 
our grammatical standard, but being a human produc- 
tion it cannot claim infallibility, and it was from the 
beginning too much regulated by deference to the 
practice of Irish grammarians, and a slight dread of 
anything too vernacular and simple. The latest edition 
of it, an admirable one,^ proves that it is possible to get 
three Gaelic scholars to agree in orthography. But 

^ There are still a good many Gaelic sayings which have 
never got into print. The present Editor will be glad to get 
any such. 

2 Published for the Edinburgh National Bible Society, 1880. 

Mv. J. F. Campbell does not exaggerate when he 
questions, whether " there are ten men now living 
who would write a hundred lines of Gaelic offhand, and 
spell them in the same way". I have been very desirous 
to make this book in that respect as correct as possible, 
and in general accordance with the best authorities. 
But an occasional divergence from the canonical norm, 
and even varied spellings of the same word, have 
seemed to me not only excusable but desirable. The 
phrases in which these words occur belong to the 
simplest vernacular forms of speech, and ought to be so 
given as to represent faithfully the varieties of phrase 
and pronunciation found among Gaelic-speaking people. 
The greater part of the two thousand three hundred 
sayings here first collected were received in MS., mostly 
from good Gaelic scholars, who spelled sometimes in 
different w^ays. 

Among these varieties of spelling are heid and hial, 
hreug and briag, feur and jiar, sgeiil and sgial, rls and 
rithist, &c. To adhere uniformly to any of these 
would sometimes spoil the rhyme or rhythm on w^hich 
the charm of a proverb often depends. The only positive 
innovation in this volume, so far as I know, is a very small 
one, SCO for so, chosen because it more correctly repre- 
sents the sound sho, the common pronunciation of the 
word in the Highlands. For the same reason I have 
invariably substituted sid for siid, and dhaihh for dhoihh, 
the former being the pronunciation of Inverness-shire, 
which I naturally preferred to that of Argyllshire. The 
addition of the acute accent to such words as heid and 
loììi is not an innovation, having the sanction of such a 

Gaelic scholar as James Munro. It is difficult to see 
why /em and mor should be always accented, and Ind 
and I6m left without it. The use of accents might well 
be limited to ambiguous words, such as Ion, Ion, and 
Ion, all of different sound and meaning. Except for 
this purpose, they are useless alike to those who 
know the language, and to those who do not. They 
are all the more confusing, when it is found that the 
Irish use of them entirely differs from ours, and that, 
with us, some people write mor, and others 7nòr, the one 
sounding like mould, the other like more. Having 
adhered to the use of accents in this book, I have 
chosen the former of these, as representing what I 
consider the better pronunciation ; and following the 
example of Munro, I have given the same accent to 
lorn, donn, torn, &c. The words ceard, fearr, &c., I have 
purposely left without accent, because there are two pro- 
nunciations of them, equally correct. Some say kyard 
diiia fyarr, accented ceard and fearr; others say kyaird 
and fare, spelled ceard and fearr. For the same reason 
the accent is omitted over fhein, when preceded by the 
first personal or possessive pronoun. It is a singular 
peculiarity of speech, in a part of the North Western 
Highlands and most of the Islands, that they say ay- 
liain (e-fhein), himself, but mce-hcen (mi-fliein), myself 
This curious variety may not be defensible, but the fact 
has been taken into consideration. 

In many cases the vowel in a word is sounded long 
or short, according to the apposition of the word, and, 
as in Greek, the presence or absence of the accent should 
mark this, e.g., Feill, where the e is long, Feill-Brighde 

where it is short. This has generally been kept in 
view, but occasional slips wUl be found. 

In addition to some misplacings or omissions of 
accents, there are a few omissions of apostrophes, 
chiefly after the article a, contracted for an. Pro- 
bably they will never be noticed, except by some 
very critical eyes. 

As to the matter of the book, I have followed, and I 
hope improved upon, the example of Macintosh, in 
giving such illustrative notes and comments as seemed 
necessary or suitable. In this respect my original 
intention, merely to give an improved translation, 
with a few additions, has been greatly changed, and 
I found at last that the collection could no more be 
called ' Macintosh's Collection '. He rightly included 
Familiar Phrases as well as Proverbs, and I have 
followed the example, giving a large number of ver- 
nacular phrases, which, though not proverbs, are house- 
hold Highland words, all the more worthy to be 
preserved, that the use of the Gaelic language in its 
native land is slowly but surely passing away. The 
venerable creature dies hard,^ but the process is going 
on, some of her heartless children doing their little best 
to hasten her end. I have included phrases and say- 
ings which may seem of small value, but if that be an 
error, it is on the safe side. Good Macintosh was not 
afraid to give some specimens of Gaelic maledictions, 
and a considerable number has been added in this 
volume. To very strait-laced people this may seem 

1 'S e 'm bial a dli' obas mu dheireadh — Tlie mouth gives in last. 

objectionable; but it is an interesting peculiarity of 
these Gaelic imprecations, that they are neither coarse 
nor blasphemous. They never take the divine name in 
vain ; and though not commonplace, there is not one of 
them to be compared for a moment in malignity with 
the dreadful ingenuity of Eruulphus. 

I have taken all due pains to translate correctly, and, 
so far as possible, to preserve the pith of the original, 
which is sometimes as difficult with Proverbs as it is 
with Poetr}'. A good many sayings are given of which 
the meaning is ambiguous or obscure. I have not ex- 
cluded them on that account, as it sometimes happens 
that an old saying may have some recondite meaning, 
or local reference, which the words do not convey on 
the surface. That the interpretations I have given are 
always correct is too much to assume. In the case of 
some of the duWi-flmcail or dark sapngs, I have 
thought it better to give no comment, than to offer an 
unsatisfactory guess. Comments or illustrations have 
been necessarily limited to such sa3dngs as seemed most 
to require them, or to invite them. They might have 
been multiplied indefinitely ; but the line had to be 
drawn somewhere ; and it seemed not too much to take 
for granted, that the readers of this book would be of a 
class not requiring explanations of things comparatively 

The only improvement in the second edition of 
Macintosh, excepting in paper and print, was the in- 
creased number of parallel proverbs given in the notes, 
which greatly added to the interest of the book. That 
practice, of which Erasmus showed such a wonderful 

example in his Adagia, has been followed in this 
volume to an extent which to some may seem excessive, 
to others inadequate. It has added seriously to the 
labour and time spent on the work, but the labour has 
been a pleasant one, and the time has not been wasted, 
if the result be found to have increased the value of the 
collection, from the point of view of what may be called 
' Comparative Parce.miography '. Lest the array of 
languages sometimes cited might suggest an ostentation 
of learning, it is right to mention that my acquaint- 
ance with some of them is of a very slender kind, but 
that I have used all available means, and got help from 
more competent persons, to give the words in these 
languages correctly.^ A few errors wall be found, but 
none of them, I believe, of importance. 

^ The principal works that have been used in citing these 
parallel proverbs are, Erasmi Adagia, 1646 ; Corpus Parcemio- 
grci'phorum Grcecoriim, Ed. Leutsch et Schneideivin, 1839-51 ; Ray's 
English Proverbs, Ed. 1813 ; Fuller's Gnomologia, 1817 ; HazliU's 
English Prov., 1869 ; Kelly's Scottish Prov., 1721 ; Ramsay's Scot. 
Prov. (Works, Oliver & Co., n.d., Vol. III.) ; Henderson's Scot. 
Prov. (Ed. Donald), 1876 ; Hislop's Scot. Prov., 1862 ; Cregcen's 
Manls Diet., 1835 ; Kelly's Manx Diet, 1866 ; Bourhe's Irish 
Grammar, 1867 ; R. Me Adam's Irish Prov. in Ulster Arch. Journ., 
Vols. VI. and VII.; PH^/ie's Welsh Dict.,{Ed.Pryse),l866; Myvirian 
Archaiology, Vol. III., 1807 ; Prov. et Dictons de la Basse-Bretagne, 
par L. F. Sauv^, Revue Celtique, Vols. I., II., III. ; Pineda's 
Spanish Diet, 1740 ; Burke's Spanish Salt, 1877 ; Roux de Lincys 
Prov. Frangais, 1859 ; Mery's Hist. Generate des Prov. 1829 ; 
Giusti's Prov. Toscani, 1871 ; Castagna's Prov. Italiani, 1869 ; 
Bonifacio's Prov. Lombardi, 1860 ; Diet, of Danish Proverbs (Dan- 
ish and French), 1759 ; Sandvoss's So Spricht das Volk, 1860 ; 
Sprichworter und Spruchreden von Deutschen, Leipzig, N.D. ; Bohn's 
Polyglot of Prov., 1857 ; Bohn's Handbook of Prov., 1855 ; Kelly's 

The value of Proverbs, as condensed lessons of wis- 
dom, ' abridgements of knowledge,' as Mr. Disraeli calls 
them, has been recognised by the wisest of men, from 
Solomon to Aristotle, from Aristotle to Bacon, from 
Bacon to Benjamin Franklin. The interest attaching to 
them as an index of the character of a nation is equally 
great. They are an unintentional, and all the more 
truthful, revelation of a people's peculiarities, habits 
and ideas. In both these respects the proverbs em- 
braced in this collection are entitled to a high place 
in the unwritten Philosophy of nations. Some of 
them are common to various countries ; others of them 
are borrowed, gaining oftener than losing in their new 
form. But a large proportion of them is of native 
growth, as certainly as is the heather on Ben Xevis, or 
the lichen on Cape Wrath ; and as a reflex of the ways 
of thinking and feeling, the life and manners, the 
wisdom or superstition, the wit or nonsense of the 
Celtic race in Scotland, they are mteresting alike to the 
historian, the philologist, and the student of human 

In speaking of them as a representation of the senti- 
ments of a nation or people, it must be borne in mind 
that, though the Gaelic-speaking population of Scotland 
is now but a small part of the whole, their mother- 
tongue was up to the time of Malcolm III. (1057- 
1093) the vernacular speech of the greater part of the 
people of North Britain, not excepting their native king, 

Prov. of all Nations, 1859; Burckhardfs Arabic Proverbs, 1830; 
Negris' Mod. Greek Prov., 1831 ; Disraeli's Philos. of Prov., in Cur. 
of Eng. Lit. ; Trench on Proverbs, 3rd ed., 1854. 

whose name alone would have bewrayed him as sucli.^ 
These Gaelic proverbs, therefore, so far as they are 
truly ancient, must be regarded as not merely Highland 
but Scottish. Where they are found in identical terms 
in Gaelic and Broad Scotch or English, the presumption 
is, unless they are on the face of them modern, that the 
Gaelic is the original, instead of being a translation, 
that language having been the common speech, not 
only of the Scotia of the time, but of the Western 
Coast and Isles, and of Galloway, centuries before 
either of the other two had come into existence. To 
some people this statement may be surprising, but 
to all competent scholars it is the mere expression of 
a now well-established fact in our Scottish history .^ 

The growth of Proverbs, like that of Ballad Poetr}^, 
is one of the most singular phenomena in the history of 
Literature. They are universally admitted to embody 
a great deal of wit and wisdom, artistically expressed. 
They must liave been composed by persons of no or- 
dinary ability ; and yet, with the exception of a small 
fraction out of many thousands, their authorship is 
utterly unknown. This undoubtedly has added to their 
influence, for the same reason that anonymous leading 
articles are so much more powerful than if they were 
signed. When to this are added the sanctions of an- 
tiquity and association, these old sayings seem to 
address us like impersonal oracles, the voices, not of 
individuals, but of many generations, like the ' ancestral 

1 ' Calum Ceann-mor,' generally rendered ' Canmore,' Big-head 
Malcolm. See Note on ' Ceann mor air duine glic,' p. 78. 
^ See Skene's Celtic Scotland, Vol. I. 

voices ' heard by Kubla Klian. And yet it seems very 
probable that a great many of the best of them were 
composed by persons in humble life, poor in position 
and in culture, rich only in mother-wit. Many of 
them, doubtless, were composed by gentlemen and 
scholars, some by persons of high degree, at a time 
when Gaelic was familiar to all the Highland nobility, 
and when the intercourse between high and low was 
constant, free, and kindly. Among the aristocracy of 
intellect, the name of one may be specially mentioned, 
as a Celt by birth, to whom Gaelic was his mother- 
tongue, our greatest scholar, George Buchanan. The 
most of these proverbs, however, so far as native, came 
from tliatched cottages, and not from baronial or aca- 
demic halls. They expressed the thoughts and feelings 
of hardy, frugal, healthy-minded and healthy-bodied 
men, who spent most of their time in the fields, in 
the woods, on the moors, and on the sea. So con- 
sidered, they do great credit to the people whose 
thoughts and manners they represent, proving that 
there was and is a civilisation in Celtic Scotland, much 
beyond the imagination even of such a brilliant Celt 
as Lord Macaulay. The Irish Book of Kells, and the 
Scottish Hunterston Brooch, reveal to the eye of the 
artist and the archaeologist a degree of artistic taste and 
skill among our Celtic ancestors, which modern art can 
imitate, but scarcely equal. Not less plainly do these 
old Gaelic sayings reflect a high moral standard, an 
intelligence shrewd and searching, a singular sense of 
propriety and grace, and, what may be considered one 
of the tests of intellectual rank and culture, a distinct 

sense of humour, never found among savages or clod- 

The special relations of Scotland to some of the con- 
tinental nations will account for the close similarity of 
some of these proverbs to foreign ones. A few of the 
Hebridean ones have a strong resemblance to some 
of the sayings of our Norse ancestors. Our old and 
intimate connection with France is well known. For 
many generations we sent soldiers and students to that 
country. Some Scottish priests are still educated at 
Douay, as in days of yore, and a Scots College was long 
maintained for their special benefit at Paris. From a 
very remote date they were in the habit of finding their 
way to Kome, as a verse by one of our oldest Gaelic 
poets, Murdoch the Scot, bears record (see Supplement, 
p. 391). There is still a Scottish College at Piome, and 
some Scottish students are regularly trained in the Pro- 
paganda College. A Scottish College was founded at 
Madrid in 1627, translated to Valladolid in 1771, where 
a considerable proportion of our Eoman Catholic clergy 
now complete their education. These facts will help to 
account for the similarity of many Gaelic Proverbs to 
French, Italian, and Spanish ones. Our old military 
connection with Denmark and the Netherlands will 
help in like manner to account for any borrowed from 
these countries and from Germany. The few survivors 
of our much-prized contribution to the ranks of Gus- 
tavus Adolphus very probably carried back with them 
to Sutherland more proverbs than dollars. 

The resemblance of our Gaelic proverbs to Irish ones, 
especially Ulster ones, is what might be expected. The 

only wonder is that the number of Irish ones hitherto 
given to the world is so small, and that those given 
are so remarkably deficient in that unpremeditated 
airy wit for which our Hibernian cousins are specially dis- 
tinguished The resemblance to Manx sayings is more 
remarkable. In that interesting island, with which our 
Celtic connection has for centuries been very slight, 
sayings are still found in words almost identical with 
ours, which must have originated in a prehistoric 
period, when the Isle of Man, the north of Ireland, the 
south-west of Scotland, and the Hebrides, spoke the 
same G-aelic tongue, and had constant intercourse. The 
resemblance between Gaelic and Welsh proverbs, as 
between the two languages, is very remote. Of the 
latter, unfortunately, the outside world has never been 
able to judge, our Cymric relatives not having thought 
it worth their while to give the benefit of their ancestral 
wisdom to anybody who did not understand their own 
beautiful language. A great deal of it is embodied in 
proverbs remarkable for brevity. 

These Gaelic proverbs give very little indication of 
those ferocious traits which ignorance or prejudice is 
apt to regard as specially characteristic of our Celtic 
ancestors. They express very few sentiments of which 
any muscular English Christian can disapprove. Burck- 
hardt makes a melancholy note on one of the Egyptian 
Proverbs, of which he has rendered several Imndreds 
into English. He says it is the only one of them known 
to him expressing any faith in human nature. What a 
comment on the history of that people ! Of these 
Gaelic sayings, on the contrary, almost the very op- 

posite can be said. Their view of human nature is 
keen but kindly, critical, but not contemptuous. The 
number of them that can be condemned, on the score of 
morals or of taste, is singularly small, more than can be 
said of the Proverbs of several great nations. They 
represent very much the character that is still found 
among our unadulterated Highland people, which un- 
doubtedly they contributed much to form. That char- 
acter is a mixture of diverse qualities, some admirable, 
some not so, but on the whole very respectable, seldom 
repulsive, oftener attractive, most rarely of all indicat- 
ing selfishness, stupidity, heartlessness, or treachery. 
These special faults have ever been regarded among 
Highlanders with antipathy, pity, contempt, and ab- 

In these Gaelic Proverbs there is plain and consistent 
inculcation of the virtues of Truthfulness. Honesty, 
Fidelity, Self-restraint, Self-esteem, Sense of Honour, 
Courage, Caution, in word and deed, Generosity, Hos- 
pitality, Courtesy, Peaceableness, Love of Kindred, 
Patience, Promptness, Industry, Providence. There are 
none to be found excusing or recommending Selfishness, 
Cunning, Time-serving, or any other form of vice "or 
meanness. A salmon from the stream, a deer from the 
forest, a ivand from the ivood, three thefts that no man 
ever hlushed for, is the only saying expressive of any 
looseness of sentiment in regard to the rights of pro- 
perty, and it is not a very shocking one, coming as it 
does from times when the hfting of cattle was not con- 
sidered disgraceful even to men of high degree. / 
would give him a night's quarters, though he had a man's 

head under Jiis arm, may sound ferocious, but it might 
still be used, simply as an emphatic expression of 
regard, by a person quite incapable of aiding or abetting 
a homicide. 

The specimens now to be given are selected almost 
exclusively from the purely native proverbs. 

PiELiGiox. — The Scottish Celts are naturally disposed 
to be religious, but not to speak much or familiarly of 
sacred things. There is a religion of old date indicated 
in some of these proverbs, the creed of which is very 
short and simple, but good so far as it goes. It combines 
the chief articles of the primitive Hebrew and Greek 
religion. It is distinctly a Necessitarian system, imply- 
ing a fixed belief that there is a Fate or Providence 
that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will. 
Here are some examples : — 

The fated loill happen. For whom ill is fated, him it will strike. 
No man can avoid the spot, where birth or death is his lot. Wliere 
folk's fate is to go, ford or hill won't prevent. You can't give luck to 
a luckless man. Wlio is horn to be hanged cannot be droioned. The 
man of long life will escape danger. He whose destiny is cast sits on 
a sharp cope. His hour was pursuing him. 

This belief in Fate is associated, as in the Augus- 
tinian and Calvinistic theology, with belief in an al- 
mighty and just God. The number of proverbs in 
which the divine name is mentioned is small, but they 
are good. Here are a few : — 

All will be as God wills. What God has promised man cannot 
baulk. What God bestowed not won't be long enjoyed. Short-lived 
is all rule but the rule of God. All things have an end but the good- 
ness of God. When God teaches not man cannot. God comes in 
distress, and distress goes. Not less in God's sight is the end of the 

day than the beginning. Two days alike ill God to poor men doth 
not will. 

The certainty that evil has its reward is distinctly 
taught in these proverbs : — 

Do evil and wait the end. There is no hiding of evil hut not to 
do it. Wrong cannot rest, nor ill deed stand. Tlwugh there he 
delay, the evil-doer is not forgotten. As a man makes his bed, so 
must he lie. WTiat's got at the Devil's head will be lost at his tail. 
Repentance wonH cure mischief. Death-bed repentance is sowing 
seed at Martinmas. 

With nnich natural reverence for religion, our Celts 
have combined a wholesome spirit of inquiry and a 
freedom of criticism on the ministers of religion : — 

God has not said all thou hast said. It is not the priesfs first 
story that should be believed. It is his own child the priest baptizes 
first. The j^riest drank only what he had. The justice of the clergy 
to each other. The friendship of the clergy, scraping and scratching 
one another. Hard as is the factor'' s rule, no better is the minister's. 
IVs a fine day when the fox preaches. 

There is no Gaelic proverb making any worse reflec- 
tion on the clerical character than the above. The 
proverbs of Italy and France specially abound in 
insinuations against priests and women. In both 
respects, the Gaelic ones form a contrast to them, which 
testifies equally to the character of the people, their 
priests, and their women. 

The Gaelic idea of the Devil is very different from 
Milton's. One of the commonest terms for that person- 
age is Mitisccm, literally, the mean rascal. 

Morals — General. 

Avoid the evil, and it will avoid thee. Love the good, and forgive 
the bad. Do good against the ill. Every creature but man can bear 


well-being. He gets no ease who suffers not. Better wear than rust. 
A bad man makes his own fate. Pity him who makes a bad 
habit. Do what becomes you, and you'll see what pleases you. 
Going to ruin is silent work. Better the long clean road than the 
short dirty road. He thinks no evil who means no evil. Better the 
little bannock with a blessing than the big one with a curse. Good 
is not got without grief, A good name is sooner lost than won. It's 
easier to go down than to climb. One should salute with a clean 
hand. Good comes from sadness, and happiness from quietness. 

Self-respect and Sense of Honour. 

As thou valuest thyself, others will esteem thee. He who lies in the 
mud will rise dirty. Pity him whose birthright is to eat dirt. A 
man's will is his kingdom. A man is king in his own house. Dead 
is the dependent. The dependent is timid. When a man goes 
down, his own back is his support. A king's son is no nobler 
than his company. Were the wealth of the woiid yours, weigh it 
not against your shame. A man may survive distress, but not dis- 
grace. A man will die to save his honour. Honour is a tender 
thing. Honour can't bear patching. Honour is nobler than gold. 
Remember those you came from. Follow close the fame of your 
fathers. (This is Ossianic — Fingal to Oscar.) 

Truth, Justice, Fidelity. 

Truth is pleasing to God. Truth is better than gold. Better be 
poor than a liar. TVhose word is no vjord, his luck is no luck. 
Woe to him that fears not to lie. Blister on the lying tongue, 
padlock on the hemless mouth ! A lie has hit one leg. A lie needs a 
prop. A lie can't last long. None lied that loould not steal. The 
lying mouth will be shut. 

Counsel of the bell of Scone, touch not ivhat is not thine oum. Ill 
for him whose goods are another man's. The reaver's goods are ill to 
keep. The thief is brother to the hound. A mouthful of meat and a 
townful of shame. He that hides the thief is worse. Put not your 
sickle without leave into another's com. Don't put your spoon into 
kail that's not yours. TJie wrongful should not be litigious. Don't 
lend the loan. The loan should be sent laughing home. 

He that promises must pay. A promise is a debt. Willing 
pays no debt. There is no greater fraud than promise unfulfilled. 

Tlie hetrayer is the murderer Let the knave be kept doicti ! 
Forsake not a friend in the fray. 


The iveak shall not ivin. Assurance is txoo-thirds of success. The 
bashful won't be brave. Fear is worse than fighting. He that flees 
not will be fled from. Weak is the grasp of the downcast. Neither 
seek nor shun the fight. (This admirable saying is Ossianic.) Swift 
goes the rear that's pricked by fear. 


A man may live though not full. One may live on little, though 
not on nothing. Tighten your belt till you get food. Eat less and 
buy it. Only dogs eat to surfeit. Hunger is a good cook. Hungry 
birds fight best. Big belly was never bountiful. A sioeet mouth ivill 
send you to beggary. Take your thirst to the stream, as the dog 
does. I like not the drinking fellowship. The uneasy seat in the ale- 
house is best. Leave the fag-end of a fair. 

Industry, Punctuality, Promptness, Early rising. 

Better knot straws than do nothing. Will is a good worker. 
Better try than hope. Long sleeping makes 'hot rowing. Lazy is the 
hand that ploughs not. Who won't plough when it is cold shall not 
reap when it is hot. He who neither works nor pushes, ^oon't get food 
among the bushes. The diligent weak will beat the lazy strong. The 
silly body builds the dyke when the corn is eaten. Take the good 
day early. Get bait while the tide is out. Dry shoes won't get fish. 
The sea icon't wait for a load. Keep the fair on its day. You 
can't to-day recall yesterday. Tim.e won't wait, nor tide show mercy. 
The late watcher never overtook the early riser. Lively is the early 
riser. He that lies long in bed, will be all day hard bestead. Give 
your ' thank you ' to the cock. 

Courtesy, Hospitality. — Highland courtesy and 
hospitality are so well known that a very few out of 
many sayings will suffice under these heads. 

He that is courteous will be courteous to all. The goodman's 
advice ought to be taken. Forwardness spoils manners. A dog goes 

hefore his comjìany. Courtesy never broke mail's crown. The rude 
jester is brother to the fool. 

He's a bad guest whom the house is the worse of. House with 
closed door can't be kept. Happy is that which is shared — pity him 
who fares alone. A thing is the bigger of being shared. The scarcer 
the food, the more bounty to share it. Welcome the coming, speed the 
parting guest. A feast is nothing without its conversation. The 
first story from the host, and tales till morning from the guest. 


Sense hides shame. Love hides ugliness. Woe to him who won't 
maintain his own poor one. Woe to him who vexes the weak. None 
ever did violence but suffered violence. Woe to him who would wish 
a ruined home to any one. 


Better weary foot than weary spirit. The day is longer than the 
brae, we'll be at the top yet. Patience overcomes trouble. Patience 
never hurt a man. Patience wins victory. Patience wears out stones. 


The heaviest ear of corn bends its head lowest. Sit lovdy, and pay 

Silence, Caution, Words and Deeds, Appearances. 

It's a big ivord that the mouth can't hold. A tvord is big when 
it's lessened. It's good manners to be silent. Choose thy speech. Say 
little and say well. It's well that the teeth are before the tongue. 
Shut mouth incurs no debt. If you tell all you see, you'll tell lohat 
will shame you. If you hear a hueless tale, don't repeat it. Believe 
not the bad report till proved. A man's smile is not his own. Not 
words prove, but deeds. The worst cow lows loudest. Puffing won't 
m.ake piping. Fulsome talk won't make kelp. The nodding of heads 
doesn't row the boat. A rotten stick is often nice to look at. The 
Devil is often attractive. A rich heart may be mider a poor coat. 
Good sword has often been in poor scabbard. 


It's difficult to give sense to a fool. IViw won't take advice is 

worthless, v)lio takes every advice is so. Ifs bad flesh thu^ ,.'<on't take 
salt, worse is tlie body that won't take warning. As crooked as the 
fool' s furrow. 


The clown is knoiim at morning — he breaks his shoe-tie. If you 
hit a dog or a cloion, hit him vxll. Give the impudent fellow an 
iiich and he'll take an ell. He that is rude thinks his rudeness good 
manners. Don't provoke a barbarian. 

Women, Marriage. — I don't know any other Pro- 
verbs that speak of women so respectfully as the 
Gaelic ones do. They are not wanting in humour, 
but they never regard women as inferior creatures and 
mere causes of mischief, which is the point of view of 
the Proverbs of several great nations. 

Meal is finer than grain, women are finer than men. There icas 
never good or ill, but women had to do with. Modesty is the beauty 
of women. I like not pullets becoming cocks. Take no woman for 
a wife in whom you cannot find a flaw. Choose your wife as you 
wish your children to be. Take a bird from a clean nest. Choose the 
good mother's daughter, were the Devil her father. If you take a wife 
from Hell, she'll bring you home there. When you see a well- 
bred woman, catch her, catch her ; if you don't do it, another will 
match her. Their own will to all men, all their will to women. 
TFliat a woman knows not she'll conceal. Harsh is the praise that 
cannot be listened to ; dark are the dames that cannot be dallied with. 
Wiiere a cow is, a woman will be, where a woman is, temptation 
will be (This is attributed to St. Columba). A man's wife is his 
blessing or bane. If you wish to be praised, die; if you wish to 
be decried, marry. You are too merry, you ought to marry. JFiio 
speaks ill of his wife dishonours himself. True or false, it will injure 
a woman. Warm is the mother's breath. 


Pity those who have them, pity more those who havenH. Better 
no children than luckless children. The crow likes her greedy blue 
chick. A house without dog or cat or child, a house without mirth 
or smile. The motherless child has m^ny faults. 


Better he unborn than untaught. When the tivig is tender, it is 
easiest bent. The child you teach not at your knee, you won't teach at 
your ear (i.e., when grown up). The early learning is the pretty 
learning. A child is known by his manners. The child that's left 
to himself will put his mother to shame. Ignorance is a heavy 
burden. Blind is the ignorant. He that knows is strong. 

Kindred, Fosterhood, Clannishness. 

Blood is hotter than water. Blood is stronger than breeding. 
Blood will withstand the rocks. Flesh will warm to kin against 
a man's will. All the water in the sea won't wash out our 
kindred. Bare is shoulder without brother, bare hearth with- 
out sister. Pity him who turns his back on his people. Trews 
like to be among clothes, I like to be among my people. Throw 
reproach on your kinsman, it loill rest on your family. The Clans 
of the Gael shoulder to shoulder ! Dear is a kinsman, but the pith of 
the heart is a foster-brother. Pity him xoho has few foster-friends. 


Friendship is as it's kept. Friends are lost by calling often, and 
hj calling seldom. It's poor friendship that needs to be con- 
stantly bought. Tivo crossing the ford are best near each other. 
A friend's eye is a good looking-glass. Better coldness of a friend 
than warmth of an enemy. A silly friend is more troublesome than 
a wise enemy. A friend can't be helped without trouble. He is not 
m,y friend that hurts me. Pity him who has weak friends. Don' t 
say you know a man till you divide a spoil with him. 

Landlord and Tenant. — Some of these sayings are 
remarkable, and worthy of attention, all the more, that 
the people whose thoughts they express are naturally 
contented, quiet, tractable, averse to innovation, agita- 
tion, or violence. 

Tenantry are stronger than laird. (In its original sense this 
would be, Tribe is stronger than Chief. See Skene's Celtic 
Scotland, Vol. Ill, chap. iv. and vi.) A farmer on his feet is 
taller than a gentleman on his knees. Woe to him that for- 

sokes the tenantry vntliout winning the laird. An alder lord ivill 
twist an oak tenant. Ill for them that have a weak lord. He that 
quarrels with the gentry is a miserable man. It's easy to put him out 
whose own the house is not. Slifpery is the flagstone at the great house 
door. The yield of the land is according to the laird. But for fear 
of double rent, Tiree would yield a double crop. It's little we complain, 
though we suffer much. One teat of a cow is better than a quarter 
of oats. Tenant after tenant makes the lands dear. The sheep's jaw 
will put the plough on the shelf. Where there are no boys in arms, 
there will be no armed men. 

Husbandry — Food. — There are a great many sayings 
under these heads. They belong to a time when the 
cultivation of the soil, though of a rude and primitive 
kind, supplied the chief source of living to the popula- 
tion, and was done with ploughs and not with spades, 
when the great majority of the peasantry had horses, 
cows, and sheep, of their own. Their food consisted 
chiefly of oatmeal cakes, porridge, and gruel, butter and 
cheese, occasionally fish, very rarely meat. One Gaelic 
word peculiarly indicates the dependence of the Gael 
on the soil — ' Teachd-an-tir,' the yield of the land, the 
most common term for living, sustenance. Scarcity of 
food, sometimes dearth, was not confined to the High- 
lands two centuries ago, but it was naturally more 
common in the remoter and least cultivated parts. 
One of the sayings very exactly expresses the Highland 
character in reference to food. A man can live on little, 
hut not on nothing. Moderation in meat and drink 
has always been a Highland characteristic. The use of 
whisky is comparatively modern. Among the sayings 
here collected it is only once mentioned by name, while 
references to ale and wine are numerous. 

Sayings that kefer to prehistoric times. 

The number of sayings that refer to Fionn or Fingal, 
and the people of whom he was head, the Feinne, whom 
we prefer not to call ' Fenians ' (see Note on ' Cha d' 
thng Fionn,' p. 100), is considerable ; and there is no 
class of sayings more frequently quoted in the High- 
lands and referred to, since time immemorial. The 
Fingalian f airplay, As strong as CuchuUin, Like Ossian 
after the Feinne, Conans life among the devils, and 
many others, are still among the familiar phrases in 
every Celtic household in Scotland. Very curiously, 
not one of them is included in the Irish Proverbs 
hitherto published. This does not of course imply that 
they are unknown in Ireland. It would be inexplicable 
if they were not ; and Canon Bourke (who, it is to be 
hoped, will yet publisli the collection of Irish Proverbs 
of which he gave a specimen in his Grammar,) informs 
me that he has been familiar with some of them from 
his childhood. But it strengthens the belief that the 
whole story and poetry of Fionn and the Feinne have 
been more deeply implanted, and better preserved, 
whatever the reason be, among the Scottish than among 
the Irish Gael. 

Of Druidism, which some excessively knowing and 
critical writers, far in advance of the Venerable Bede, 
and even of Julius Caesar, have treated as a mere myth, 
there are at least two curious relics among these Gaelic 
sayings : — As clever as Coivi the Druid. Though near 
the stone be to the ground, nearer is the help of Coivi (see 
Note, p. 143). Such sayings as ' Deiseal air gach nl ' 
belong to the same period. 

Hltmoeous Sayings. — The notion of most Sas- 
senachs anent ' Scotch Wut ' is derived at second- 
hand from our dear Elia and Sydney Smith, both of 
whom, though exquisitely clever and delightful, were 
quite fallible men. Any one who thinks the Scottish 
people inferior in humour to the English had better 
contrast the Proverbs of the one nation with those of 
the other. At the risk of being considered partial or 
parochial, the present editor has no hesitation in saying, 
that the Sassenach is incarnate prose compared with the 
Scot, that the Northern sayings greatly surpass the 
Southern in humour, felicity, and love of artistic form. 
He cannot claim for the Scottish Celts a greater sense 
of humour than is found among the Lowlanders, but he 
does claim for them a very delicate edge, with a cut 
not less severe. As for their being a melancholy 
people, there could be nothing more absurd imagined. 
One can be thoughtful, even pensive, and yet very fond 
of fun, in loco. Irony and satire, more than humour 
strictly so called, are characteristic of the Scottish Gael. 

Here follow some specimens : — 

Twenty-one captains over twenty soldiers. The birds live, though 
not all hawks. IVs the bigger of that, as the wren said, when it dropped 
something in the sea. Big egg never came from, wren. ' Where art 
thou, wren ' ì said the eagle: '■Far above thee,' said the wren (on the 
eagle's back). Howling is natural to dogs. He's a fine man 
if you don't ask of him. The wren spreads his feet ivide in his own 
house. The highway is wide, and may be trod. Better a lobster than 
no husband. Better peace with a hen than strife. You ivould be a 
good messenger to send for death. The longest lay will end at last. 
The old imman is the better of being icarmed, bid not of being burned. 
It would be thick water that would wash his face. Bold is the puppy in 
the lap of strength. He sat very awry when he did that. You were 
born far from the house of good manners. You were not in 

when sense was being shared. Your grandmother's death is long 
in your memory. Better ^Heyday!' than 'Alas!' Pity 
him who would put you in the ship's boiv ! It's a big beast that there 
isn't room for outside. An inch off a man's nose is a great deal. 
He is lucky to whom you would promise the gallows. Geese under- 
stand each other. ' There's meat and mrisic here,' as the fox said 
when he ran away with the bagpipe. The fish in the sea like us 
mortals be. You spoiled a dwarf, and didn't make a man. Even a 
haggis will run down hill. Two will have peace to-night, myself 
and the u-hite horse, as the wife said when her husband died. Like 
the white horse at the mill-door, thinking more than he said. Like the 
the old coxo's tail, always last. It's not easy to put trevjs on a cat. 
You may be a good man, as Neil of the Mountain said to the cat, but 
you haven't the face of one. Pity your sweet mouth should ever go 
under ground. Women's patience — up to three. The sod is a good 
mother-in-law. The sea will settle when it marries. 

Poetical sayings. — Among purely poetical and 
pretty sayings, the Gaelic ones take a high place. 
Here are a few examples, in addition to some already 

Blue are the hills that are far from us. Night is a good herd- 
man; she brings all creatures home. The three prettiest dead, a child, 
a salmon, and a black-cock. The sea likes to be visited. Thy heart's 
desire to thy pulse ! There is no smoke in the lark's house. Black is 
the berry but siveet ; black is my lassie but bonnie. * / ^ciU keep to 
my sweetheart,' said the girl, ' a mouth of silk, and a heart of hemp.' 
High is the stag's head on the mountain crags. Pretty is the mouse 
in the corn-plat. The ocean hides much. Like stone sent uphill is 
the long Spring evening, like stone running down glen is soft Autumn 

It now becomes me to mention those to whom I have 
been most indebted for their contributions to this col- 
lection, and their help in other ways. The largest and 
best collections were received from the Eev. J. G. 
Campbell of Tiree, and Mr. A. A. Carmichael, North 
Uist. Both came unasked, and were supplemented, as 

occasion required, by illustrations out of tlie rich stores 
of Gaelic Folk-lore, Poetry, and Tradition, which both 
these gentlemen are ever ready generously to communi- 
cate to those interested in them. Mr. Archibald Sin- 
clair, Glasgow, gave me a valuable collection made by 
his worthy father, a great part of which had been got 
from Mr. Carmichael. He also lent me a copy of the 
second edition of Macintosh, which had belonged to the 
late Mr. Ewen MacLean, a good Gaelic scholar, who 
had contemplated a new edition, to be dedicated to his 
friend James Munro. I am indebted to it for several 
emendations, and two or three very good additional pro- 
verbs. To the Eev. J. W. MacTntyre, Kilmodan, I am in- 
debted for a copy of a good collection dated so long ago 
as 1769 by a certain Ewen MacDiarmid, which came into 
the possession of Mr. John Shaw, Kinloch Eannoch. 
From the Eev, M. MacPhail, Kilmartin, I received an 
excellent collection, made by himself in his native 
island, Lewis. To my dear old friend, the Eev. A. 
MacGregor, Inverness, I am indebted for several inte- 
resting illustrations, and some good sayings, recovered 
from memory, out of a large collection made by him 
long ago in the Isle of Skye, the MS. of which had 
unfortunately been lost. 

To the late Donald C MacPherson, of the Advocates' 
Library, a special tribute is due. He was a Lochaber 
man, steeped in Gaelic lore and sentiment, a scholar, 
chiefly self-taught, and a genius. He supplied me with 
a considerable number of proverbs found among the 
Gaelic MSS. of the Library, besides many fresh addi- 
tions and illustrations from his own remarkable 

memory. Some of his contributions to the Gad'^ are 
such as no other man could have given. Much as I 
have been assisted in this work by other friends, I 
received most help from him, and of a constant and 
ever ready kind. By his early death Gaelic Literature 
has sustained a great loss, and no one has more cause to 
lament it than I have. 

Of others to whom I have been indebted for contri- 
butions of Proverbs are Mr. Donald McLaren, Loch 
Earn, Mrs. Mary MacKellar, Mr. Alex. ]\Iackay, 
and Mr. Murdo MacLeod, of Edinburgh, both from 

Mr. Donald Mackinnon, ]\I.A., Edinburgh, whose 
papers on Gaelic Proverbs in the Gael showed excep- 
tional knowledge of the subject, and power to deal 
wdth it, has given me valuable assistance in many ways. 
To the Eev. Dr. Clerk of Kilmallie, and the Eev. Mr. 
Stewart of 'Nether Lochaber,' I am much bound for 
kind help and suggestions. Of friends who helped me 
in regard to foreign proverbs, I have specially to thank 
Mr. A. L. Finlay, Dumfries, and Mr. J, A. Hjaltalin, 

In addition to the various sources above acknow- 
ledged, I found a considerable number of proverbs in 
the interesting columns of the HigJdandcr, some in the 
Gael, and a few in the Dictionaries of Armstrong, the 
Highland Society, and Mac Alpine. I carefully searched, 
and not in vain, in the pages of the Teachdaire Gaelach 

1 A well conducted Gaelic Man;azine, which lasted longer than 
any of its predecessors — six years. Its stoppage in December 
1877 was much to be regretted. 

(1829-31), Tcachdaire Ur Gaidhealach (1835-36) Cuairt- 
ear 7ian Gleann (1840-43), and Fear-tathaich nam Beann 
(1848), four Gaelic Periodicals, the best coutributions to 
which were made by Dr. Norman Mac Leod, to whose 
memory this book is dedicated. He was the Editor, the 
life and soul, of the Tcachdaire and the Cuairtear. Of 
all men that ever wrote Gaelic prose, he wrote the best 
and raciest, the language, not of mere propriety and 
elegance, but of natural genius, equally incomparable 
in moving laughter or tears. His Gaelic Dialogues, 
' Comhradh nan Cnoc,' and his answers to correspond- 
ents, are spiced with proverbial phrases and allusions, 
of which no one else could make such happy, some- 
times such crushing use. His command of them seemed 
inexhaustible ; his quiver never was emptied, and his 
arrows never missed. 

One other friend I must mention, who has given me 
neither proverbs nor explanations, but whose assistance, 
in the shape of stimulus and example, has been 
quite unique — Professor Blackie. His appreciation of 
Gaelic proverbs is as great and natural as his love of 
the Highlands; and if any living man specially deserved 
to have this book dedicated to him, as a mark of 
gratitude from a Highlander, on behalf of the people 
and language for whom he has done so much, that man 
is he. Buaidh 'us piscach air a clieann ! 

December, 1880. 


(1) As the use of accents in this book differs a little from that 
found in the Gaelic Bible and Dictionaries, the following ex- 
planations seem necessary — 

A. The grave accent over this vowel indicates (1) the sound 
of the English words /ar, call ; — e.g., bus, clàr ; or (2) a 
diphthong (an) not recognized in English (except in the 
pronunciation sometimes heard of such words as Goiv, 
as if it were Gauio,) nor in any Gaelic Grammar ; — 
e.g., cam. 

The acute accent over A distinguishes the preposition a, ' out 
of,' from «, pronoun, &c. 

E. The acute accent over E marks the sound of rein, tale ; — 
e.-n,., fein, sgeul. 

The grave accent over E marks the sound of maid, save ; — e.g., 
mèud, sèimh. 

1. The grave accent alone is used over I, and marks the sound 
of tear, mere ; — e.g., tlr, mlr, 

O. The acute accent over O marks (1) the sound of bold, mould ; 
— e.g., bo, m6r. 

(2) As in the case of the diphthongal A, this accent is also 
used to mark a somewhat similar combination of and U, in 
such words as lOm, dOnn. The vowel in these words is pronounced 
in some parts of the Highlands the .same as in bo, bold, in other 
parts, with a diphthongal sound, the same as in dmvn. The names 
of Iain Lorn and Rob Donn are pronounced in Skye as if written 
Lowm and Down. 

(3) The grave accent over marks the sound of more, door, 
e.g., òg, sròn. According to all the Dictionaries and the Gaelic 
Bible, the words bo and mor, so far as acccents indicate pronun- 
ciation, are sounded the same as òg and sròn. That is certainly 
not the general pronunciation of Inverness-shire and the Hebrides. 

U. The grave accent alone is used over U, and marks the sound 
of cure, poor, e.g., ciùrr, sùil. 




A' bheairt sin nach fliaighear acli cearr, 's e foigliidmn 
a's fhearr a cllieanainh ritlie. 

The loom, tliat's awry is best handled patiently. 

The word 'beairt' has various meanings, but in its primary use 
seems to have been equivalent to the word ' loom,' whicli meant 
other tools or engines, as well as weaving looms. In the above 
proverb, however, the weaAÌng loom seems to have been in view, 
and the meaning to be, that if it be found to be out of gear, it is 
better to handle it patiently than to try to put it right, at the risk 
of breaking the threads. ' What can't be cured must be endured ' 
expresses nearly the same idea, but not exactly. 

A' bheinu a 's àirde tha 's au tir, 's ann oirre 's trice 
'chl tliu 'n ceo. 

Tiie highest hill is oftenest covered toith clonds. 

So is it mth those who tower above the common level of 

A' bheist a 's mo ag itlie' na beist' a 's luglia,'s a' blieist 
a 's lugha 'deauamh mar a dh'fhaodas i. 

The higgcr beast eating the lesser one, and the lesser 
one doing as it may. 

It is interesting to find Modem Science anticipated in an old 
Gaelic story. This graphic expression of a great physical and 
moral truth occurs in a description of ocean life, common to 
several of those West Highland Tales, on the collection and edit- 
ing of which ilr. J. F. Campbell has bestowed so much generous 
care. See Vol. II., pp. 201, 210. 

A bbi gu dàna modhail, sin lagh na cùirte. 
To he bold and courteous is the conri rule. 
This is a good description of the manner best suited for secur- 
ing attention in. courts of all kinds. 

A' bhò a 's mios' a th' anns a' bhuaile, 's i 's cruaidhe 

The worst coiv in the fold lows the loudest. 
Al. — A' bho a 's luf:;lia feum, 's i 's mo geum. 
See also 'Cha 'n i 'bhò', and ' Geum mor ', 

A' buain nan àirneagan searbha, 's a saltairt air na 

Plucking the hitter sloes, and tramplimj on the honey- 

A' call Ian na leidhe air imlicli a màia. 

Losing the ladle-full licking its outside. 

A'callnamboiteina'crninneachadh nan sop. 

Losing the bundles gathering the wisps. 

See ' A' sgaoileadh nan sguab.' 

A' caoidli nam buideal falamh. 

Bewailing the empty casks. 

A chailleach, an gabh thu 'n righ ? Cba ghabh, 's nach 
gabh e mi. 

Crone, will you have the king? I wont as he wont have 

There is a humorous philosophy in this. 

A' chaor' a tbtìd anns a.' chreig clia 'n 'eil aic' ach 
tigliinn aisde mar a dli' fhaodas i. 

The sheep that gets into the rock must get out as best 
she can. 

A' chiad sgeul air fear an tiglie, 's gach sgeul gulath' 
air an aoidh. 

The first story from the host, and tales till morning from 
the guest. 

This is one of the sayings most purely characteristic of the old 
manners and customs of the Highlands, carrying one back with- 
out difficulty to the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, traces of 
which survive in some of the Gaelic Tales. 

A' chlach nach tacliair ri m' cliois cha chiùrr i mi. 

The stone that doesn't meet my foot ivon't hurt me. 

See ' An rud nach laidh '. 

The stane that lies not in yir gait breaks not yir taes. — Scot. P. 

A' chore 'an ionad a' chuinnseir. 
The knife in the place of the sword. 

A cbuid de Phàras da ! 

His share of Paradise to him ! 

Al. ' de Fhlaitheanas,' of Heaven. The wordF., still in com- 
mon use as the Gaelic for Heaven, has been interpreted by good 
autliorities (Armstrong, Highl. Soc. Did., &c.) as Flath-innis, 
the Isle of Heroes, an etymology which is both j^oetical and prob- 
able. A simpler and more scientific etymology (Ebel's Celt. Stud., 
p. 116) makes it Flaithemnas, or Flaitheamhnas, sovereignty, 
dignity, glory. In Bedell's Irish Bible, ' Flaitheamhnas',' and 
' Flaitheasa ' are used in the Old Test, to denote Heaven and 
Heavens ; but ' Neamli ' and ' Neamhdha ' more commonly. In 
the New Test. ' Neamh ' only is used for the singular. In our 
Gaelic Bible the latter alone is used ia both sing, and plur. 

A' chuid nach gabli na leanaban gabbaidh an t-sean- 
bbean fbeiu. 

Wliat the children won't take the old ivoman ivill. 

A' cbùil a bbios fosgailte tbèid na coin innte. 
The dogs vnll go into the corner that's opeii. 

A' cbuirni a's luaitbe 'bbios ullamb, suidbeamaid uile 
g'a gabbail 

The feast that's soonest ready let us ail sit down to. 

A' diuiseag ruadb a db' fbàsas 's an òtraicb, 's i 's àii'de 
'tbogas a ceann. 

The red vjced from the dunghill lifts its head the highest. 
The proudest nettle grows on a midden. — Scot. 
A cbiir a ruitb na cubbaig. 
Sending him to chase the cuckoo. 
Literally a ' gowk's errand '. 

A' cromadb air na beaga. 
Stooping to the little. 

A' cimntas sblat gun aodacb. 
Counting yards without cloth. 

A! cur a' bbodaicb as a tbigh fbein. 
Putting the old man out of his own house. 

A' cur an eicb 's e 'n a fbaUns. 
Urging on the sweating horse. 

A' cur na snàtbaid air a' cboltar. 
Putting the needle on the coulter. 

A' cur slinaim air na suip. 
Knotting straws. 

A! deanamh cuain mhoir de chaolas cumhang. 
Making a great ocean of a narrow strait. 

A dh-aindeoin co 'theireadh e ! 
Gainsay who dare ! 
The Clanranald motto. 

A' dol 's na h-eachaibh deiridh. 
Going among the hindmost horses. 

Said of persons when their failing powers disqualify them for 
leading places, as in a team of horses. 

A' gliaoth 'g iarraidh nam port. 
The wind seeking harbours. 
Said of an unsteady wind. 

A' h-uile CÙ air a' chù choimheach. 
All the dogs doivn on the strange dog. 
Al. Gach olc' an tòin a' choimhich, 

A' h - uile fear a theid a dholaidh, gheabli e dolar 

Every man that's down in luck will get a dollar from. 

This refers to the enlisting for the Highland regiment raised 
by Lord Eeay for service under the King of Denmark (1626-29), 
and Gustavus Adolphus (1629-32), in which the Scots so greatly 
distinguished themselves. 

A' h-uile latha sona dhut, 
Gun lath' idir dona dhut ! 
Every day goodluck to thee. 
And no day of sorrow he ! 

A' h-uile ni thun a' bheòil. 
Everything to the mouth. 

This is primarily true of infants, but has a much wider appli- 

A' h-uile rud a th(5id 's an lion 's iasg e. 
All is fish thcd goes into the net. 

A leisgeul sin dhaibh fhein. 
Ifs theirs to excuse thcd. 

A lion beagan 'us beagan, mar a dh' ith an cat an 

Little ly little, as the cat ate the herring. 
Little and little the cat eats the stickle. — Eng. P. 

A reir do mheas ort fhein, measaidli each thu. 
As thou vainest thyself others will esteem thee. 
Autant vaut I'homme comme il s'estime. — Fr. 
Him who makes chaff of himself the cows will eat. — Arab. 
Wer nichts aus sich macht, ist uichts. — Gci-m. 

A' ruith fear-an-tighe 'n a thigh fhein. 
Taking the goodman's right in his own house. 

A' ruith na seiche air a bruaich. 

Keeping to the, edge of the hide. 

Applied to persons in straitened circumstances. A man with 
plenty of hides would help himself out of the best part ; a poor 
man would need to begin at the outside, 

A' sgaoileadh nan sguab 's a' trusadh nan siobhag. 
Scattering the sheaves and gathering the straws. 

A shalachar fhein leis gach rudha. 

To every headland it's ovni foul ground. 

A's t-Eairach'n uair a bhios a' chaora caol, bidh am 
maorach reamhar. 

In Blaring lohen the sheep is lean the shellfish is fat. 

A thoil fhein do gach duine, 's an toil uile do na 

Their will to all men, and. all their will to the women. 
Nought's to be had at woman's hand, 

Unless ye gie her a' the plea. — Scot. Song. 
Ce que femme veut Dieu le veut. — Fr. P. 

Abair rium mu'n abair mi riut. 
Speak to me ere I speak to thee. 

Abhsadh a' chromain-luch. 
Shortening sail kite-fashion. 

A Hebridean phrase, applied to awkward handling of a sail — 
letting it down too suddenly, like the descent of a kite. 

Adharc na bà maoile 's duilich a toirt dith. 
It's hard to take the horn off the hornless cow. 

Adliarc 'n a cliHathaich ! 

A horn in his side ! 

Al. An dunaidh a' d' chliathaicli ! Tlie mischief in your side ! 

These are forms of malediction, undoubtedly of native ongin. 
Those which are so are generally less offensive in expression than 
those of more ' civilised ' nations. 

Ag itlieadh na cruaiche fo 'n t-sioman. 

Eating the stack under the rope. 

Aicheadh na caillich air an sgillinn — nacli e sgillinn 
idir a bh'ann acli da bhonn-a-sia. 

The old wifes deiiial of the penny — it ivas not a penny 
hut two half-joence. 

Aig bainnsean 's aig tòrraidliean aitlmicliear càirdean 
'us eòlaich. 

At weddings and at funerals relatives and friends are 

At marriages and burials, friends and kinsfolk be kno'wn. — 
The Booke of Merry Riddles, 1629. 

Aig deireadh a' chluiche cliitear co 'bhuinigeas. 

At the end of the game the winner is seen. 

Al fin del giuoco si vede chi guadagna. — Ital. 

Air a làimh fhèin, mar a bha 'n ceard 's a' chaonnaig. 

For his own hand, as the smith was in the fight. 

This seems to be the original of the Scottish proverb, ' For 
his ain hand, as Henry Wynd fought,' referred to by Sir Walter 
Scott in the Fair Maid of Perth, ch. xxxiv. The word ' ceard,' 
now applied only to tinkers, was originally applied to artificers in 
all kinds of metals, gold, silver, iron, &c. ; and the word ' ceard- 
ach ' still means a smithy. 

Air an dorus air an tig ambarus a steach, theid gràdb 
a macb. 

Where douht conies in love gees out. 

Hvor Mistanke gaaer ind, gaaer Kjasrlighed uà.—Dan. 

Air cheart lomaidb, 's air eigin. 

Veì^ harely and with difficulty. 

Air do sblàinte, 'gboistidb ùir, sop air sùil an t-sean 
ghoistidb ! 

Here's thy health my new gossip, farewell the old one ! 

' Sop air sùil ' is a curious expres.sion, literally ' a wisp on the 
eye '. The meaning is that the old friend is to be hidden away, 
out of sight, out of mind, dead. 

Air fliad 's ge'n teid thu 'mach, na toir droch sgeul 
dliachaidh ort fhuin. 

However far you go abroad, bring Jiome no ill tale of 

Air ghaol an leinibh, pògar a' bhanaltnim. 

The nurse is kissed for the saJce of the child. 

' Kissing the child for the sake of the nurse ' is the more com- 
mon English phrase, but there is a German saying identical with 
the above. 

Air glilainead an tobair, bidh salachar ann. 

Be the fountain e'er so clean, some dirt in itivill be seen. 

Air uihèud 's a their na slòigh, cha glilòir a dhearblias 
acli gniomh. 

For all the world can say, not words but deeds are 

Al. Bial a labhras, ach gniomh a dhearbhas. 

Gwell es eim oberer evit kant lavarer. — Breton. 

I fatti son maschi, le parole femmine. — Ital. 

Obras son amores, que no buenas razones. — Sioan. 

Worte sind gut, wenn Werke folgen. — Germ. 

Air mlièud 's ge 'm faigh thu gu math, 's lughaid 
a gheabh thu gu h-olc. 

The more you find of good, the less you'll get of ill. 

Air son mo chuid-sa de 'n ghràn, leigidh mi 'n àth 
'n a teine. 

For my share of the grain, the kiln may go on fire. 
For my peck of malt, set the kiln on fire. — Cheshire, &c. 

Aireamh na h-Aoine air caoraich a bhail' ud thall ! 

Friday s numbering on the neighbouring sheep ! 

' Aireamh na h- Aoin' ort ! ' is simply another form of ' Bad 
luck to you !' On the supposed unluckiness of Friday, see 
App. I. 

Aisigidh leannanachd an tochradh. 
Sioeethearting brings the tocher. 

Aisling caillich mar a dùrachd. 
An old wife's dream as her desire. 

"O TL iix^p f] ypija 's Tov vovv ttjs, 7-o/3Xe7re s to oveipov ttjs. — 
Mod. Qr. 


Aiteamh na gaoithe tuath, sueachd 'us reodhadh anns 
an uair. 

After thaw with northern blast, snow and frost fol- 
low fast. 

Aithne an Lecklbasaich mhoir air an Leodliasach 

The big Levns man's recognition of the other Lewis 

The big man is supposed to say, ' Tha aitlme gun chuimlin' 
agam ort/ I recognise, but don't remember you. 

Aithneachadh bo badhail, no fàilt a' chruidh. 

The wandering cow's vjelcome, or the kine's salute. 

Macintosh's explanation of this saying is, that when a strange 
beast joins a herd the rest attack it. An ingenious commentator 
suggests as the proper reading, ' Aithuichidh bo a badhail,' A 
cow knows her own stall, which makes good sense. But the noun 
' badhail ' is Irish ; ' buabhail ' is our word for stall. 

Aitbnichear air a' bheagan ciamar a bbiodh am moran. 
From tJie little may be seen what the big might have 

Aithnicbear am balach 's a'mbaduinn — bristidb e 
barrall a bbroige. 

The clown is known at morning — he breaks his shoe-tie. 

This is a curious illustration of the general amenity of man- 
ners characteristic of the Celts. The 'balach' is a combination of 
'bully' and 'snob,' and it is meant that he is so rude and impatient 
that he can't even tie his shoe without showing his roughness. 

Curiously enough, a word expressing much the same thing 
in modern Greek is ^Xaxos. 

Aitbnicbear an leomhan air sgriob de 'ionga. 
TJie lion is known by a scratch of his date. 
Ex ungue leonem. — Lat. P. Dall' unghia si conosce il 
leone. — Ital. A I'ongle on connait le lion. — Fr. 

Aitlmichear fear doimeig air fàire. 

The slatterns husband can be knoion afar. 

The Ulster version is, ' Aithnighear fear na cuaròige air 
fàithche a measg chàich'. A South Uist saying is, 'Is lualh fear na 
droch mhna air a' mhachair Uibliistich ' — iSwift goes the bad 
wife's husband on the Uist plain. 

Aithnichear leanabh air a bheusaibh. 

A child is known by his manners. 

Even a child is known by his doings. — Prov. xx. 11. 

Aithnichear searrach sean làrach ann an greigh. 
An old mares foal is known in a herd. 
Supposed, whether truly or not, to be more lively than others. 
See ' Mac bantraich '. 

Aithnichidh an truaighe a daoine fh^in. 
Misery knows its own people. 

Aithnichidh na leth-chiallaich a cheile. 
Half-wits recognise each other. 

This is a touching fact, of which observant persons must have 
seen many instances. 

Albainn bheadarrach ! 
Beloved Scotland ! 

' Beadarrach ' is perhaps oftener used to mean playful, but the 
above appears to be an expression of simple affection. 

Am biadh a dh' ithear anns a' chùil, thig e thnn an 

TJie food that's eaten %n the corner will come to the 

Am biadh a theachdas os cionn gach bidh — snaois- 

The food that can go on the top of all food — snuff. 

The once general use of snuff has given place, in the High- 
lands as elsewhere, to smoking. A snuff-mull is now rarely to be 

'Am bial a' phoca tha 'n caomhnadh. 
The saving is at the mouth of the hag. 
See ' Am fear nach dean bail.' 

Am bolla air an sgillinn, 's gun an sgillinn ann. 

The loll at a penny, and no pienny to buy it. 

The Scotch boll is a measure of grain, sixteen pecks. There 
is a Danish saying, ' When it rains porridge, the beggar has no 

Am br^id 'g a thomhas air an toll. 
Measuring the patch on the hole. 


Am brògach beag 's an cuaranacli m6rc 
The hoy with shoes, the man with socks. 

Brought up to wear shoes, and reduced when grown to wear- 
ing the ' cuiiran,' (Welsh, ' cwaran ') a kind of sock, made of un- 
tanned leather — the ancient foot-gear, which every man made for 

Am bronnach Geamhraidh, 's an seang Earraich. 
Squabhy in WÌ7iter, and skinny in Spring. 
The reference is to young cattle. 

Am fac thu rud 's a chùl rint ? 

Saw you aright tvith its back to you ? 

This was reckoned a bad omen. See ' Chuala mi 'chubhag '. 

Am facal a thig a Ifrinn 's e gheabh, ma 's e 's mo 

TJie word that comes from Hell, ivill get if it hid vjell. 

The howlet was screamin', while Johnnie cried, ' Women 
Wad marrv auld Nick, if he'd keep them aye braw ! ' 

H. M'Neill. 

Am fear a bhios a bharra-mhanadh a mach, suidli- 
idh e air fail chorraicb. 

He vjhose destiny is cast sits on a sharp cope. 

There is something very awful in this saying, reminding of 
that of the Psalmist, ' Their foot shall slide in due time '. The 
belief in Fate, expressed by such words as dan, manadh, sona, 
&c., was as strong in the Celts, as many of these proverbs show, 
as in any ancient Greek, or modern Islamite. 

The word/cU is found in the Scottish ' fail dyke '- 

Am fear a bbios a' riaTachadh na maraig' bidh an 
ceann reamhar aige f hein. 

The ma.n that divides the pudding will have the thick 
end to himself 

Puddings, in the sense familiar to John Bull, were not known 
to the hai'dy Celts. But several kinds of pudding, more akin 
to the sausage, in which oatmeal and suet, blood, and various 
other savoury ingredients, formed the chief elements, were, and 
still are, well known, both in the Highlands and Lowlands of 
Scotland. To such dainties reference is made in the well-known 
song, ' The barrin' o' the door' — 

' An' first they ate the white puddin's, 
An' then they ate the black.' 


Am fear a bliios air deireadh bidli na coin com- 
aidh ris. 

He that comes last will have the dogs as inessmates. 
Chi tardi arriva mal allogia. — Ital. 

Am fear a bhios air dheireadli beiridli a' bhiast air. 
Him that's last the least will catch. 

This saying seems to have originated in a children's game, but 
like many such things it has a serious moral. 
' DeU tak the hi n most ' conveys the same idea. 

Am fear a bliios air tboiseach theid a stobadh anns an 

He that goes first will get stuck in the mud. 

Am fear a bhios an diugh 'an uachdar, car mii char 
a nuas e 'màireach. 

He that's wpperviost to day, turn over turn he's doicn 

This refers, of course, to the wheel of Fortune. 

Am fear a bhitheas ann, nitear clann ris. 
Such a man as there is, children ivill he got hg. 
This is susceptible of more than, one interpretation. See 'Am 
fear nach teid '. 

Am fear a bhios beudach e fhein cha sguir e 
'dh' eigneachadh chàich. 

He that is guiltg himself will always he urging others. 
See ' Miann an droch dhuine '. 

Am fear a bhios carach 's a' bhaile so bidh e carach 
's a' bhail' ud thall. 

He who is tricky in this farm loill he tricky yonder. 


He that waits long at the ferry icill get over some 

Tout vient à point, à qui sait attendre. — Fr. 

Chi aspettar puote, ha ciò che vuole. — Ital. 

Am fear a bhios fearg air a ghnà 's coltach a ghnè ris 
an dris. 

He who is always angry is of nature like the hramhle. 


Am fear a bhio& fada gun eirigh bidh e 'n a leum 
fad an latha. 

He who Iks long in heel will he all clay hard hestead. 
Uomo lento non ha mai tempo. — Ital. 

Am fear a bliios gun eacli gun eathar, 's eudar dha 

He who Jms neither horse nor hoat must go on foot. 

Am fear a bhios gun mhodh, saoilidh e gur modh am 

He that is rude thinks his rudeness good manners. 

Am fear a bliios modhail, bidh e modhail ris a' li-uile 

He that is courteous ivill he courteous to all. 

This shows a knowledge of true courtesy, and of the highest 

Am fear a bhios 'n a thàrah cuiridh e 'n cat 's an teine. 
The idle man will put the cat in the fire. 

Am fear a bhios 's an fhèithe, cuiiidh a' h-uile fear a 
chas air. 

Every foot will tread on him who is in the mud. 
Wer am Boden liegt, iiber den lauft Jedermann. — Germ. 

Am fear a bliios trie anns a' mhuileann, leanaidh an 
sadach ris. 

He that's often in the mill will he dusty. 
Chi va al mulino, s' infarina. — Ital. 
Am fear a bhrathas 's e 'mharbhas.. 
He that hetrays is the murderer. 

Am fear a bhuaileadh mo chù bhuaileadh e mi fhein. 
He that would strike my dog ivotdd strike me. 

Am fear a cheanglas 's e 'shiubhlas. 
He that ties hest travels hcst. 

He that fastens his knapsack or bundle most carefully will go 
with least interruption — so of all hvunan affairs. 
See ' Ceangail teann '. 
Fast bind, fast find. — Engl. 
(juien bieu ata, bien desata. — Span. 


Am fear a cheannaicheas am fath-each, ceannaichidh e 
an t-ath each. 

He that buys an old hack will have to buy another 


A I. Ceannaicli sean riul, 's bi gun aou rud. — Buy an old thing, 
and have nothing. 

Am fear a chuireadh a chorrag 'am shùil, clmir- 
inn mo ghlùn 'n a chliahh. 

Who would put his finger in my eye, 1 would put my 
hnee on his chest. 

This looks as if the Trans -Atlantic practice of ' gouging ' had 
been at one time known in the Highlands. If it were so, it must 
have been very long ago. 

Am fear a dh'imich an cruinne clia d'fliiosraich co 
dhiubh b'fhearr luathas no maille ; ach tliug e 'n t-urram 
do dh-fhear na moch-eirigh. 

He vjho went round the globe conld'nt tell which was 
best, speed or slowness ; but he gave the palm to the early 

Am fear a dli' itheas a sheanmhair, faodaidli e 
'li-eanraich òl. 

He that eats his grandmother m^ay sup her broth. 

When Farquhar the Leech had tasted the 'bree' of the serpent, 
his master, who knew tliat his apprentice now had his eyes opened 
to see the secrets of nature, and his ears to understand the lan- 
guage of birds, threw the pan at him in wrath, crying, ' Ma 
dh' Ò1 thu an siigh, ith an fheòil ' ; If you have supped the juice, 
eat the flesh ! See Campbell's IF. H. Talcs. II., 262. 

Al. Ge b'e 'dhith an fheòil, òladh e 'm brochan. 

An te d'ith an fheòil, òladh se am l)rot. — Irish. 

As good eat the devil as the broth he is boiled in. — Engl. 

Chi ha mangiato il diavolo, mangia anche le corna. — Ital. 
' Seanmliair ' is also a playful term applied to a pig in some parts 
of the Highlands. 

Am fear a dli' itheas an t-lm togadh e 'n tota. 
He thafs to eat the butter, let him build the walls. 

The meaning here is, that the man who is to reap the profit 
should erect the necessary buildings. Butter appears, from 
several of the old sayings, to liave been one of the chief products 
of the primitive Highlands. A keg of butter, containing about 2 


cwt., in good preservation, found in May, 1879, at some depth in 
a peat-moss, in Kingaii-locli, is now preserved in the Museum of 
the Scot. Soc. of Antiquaries. The keg was hollowed out of a 
solid piece of tree. Several such have been found in Irish bogs. 
See Ulster Journ. of Arch., Vol. VII., p. 288. 

Am fear a dh' itheas an ceann dathadh e 'm bus. 
He that eats the (sheep's) head let him singe it himself. 

Am fear a glieabh ainm na moch-eirigh, faodaidh e 
laidhe anmoch. 

He that gets the name of early rising may lie in heel late. 

Acquista buona fama, e mettiti à dormire. — Ital. 

Cobra buena fama, y echate a dormir. — Span. 

Get the word o' soon risiti', an' ye may lie in bed a' day. — Scot. 

Am fear a gheallas 's e 'dh'iocas. 

He that firomises viustpay. 

Promise is debt. — Engl. 

Zusagen macht Schuld. — Germ. 

Belofte maakt schuld, en schuld maakt belofte. — Dutch. 

Quien proniete, en deuda se mete. — Span. 

Am fear a ghleidheas a cliuid gleidliidh e 'chàirdean. 
He that keeps his means will keep his friends. 
See Timon of Athens. 

Am fear a ghleidheas a theanga, gleidhidh e 'charaid. 
Who keeps his tongue will keep his friend. 
Better lose a jest than a friend. — Engl. 
Better tine joke than friend. — Scot. 
Gjem din Mund og gjem din Ven. — Dan. 

Am fear a ghoideadh an t-ubh-circe, ghoideadh e 'n 

Who vjould steal the hen egg would steal the goose egg. 

Am fear a ghoideas an t-snàthad bheag, goididh e 'n 
t-snàthad mlior. 

He that steals the little needle will steal the big one. 

Am fear a ghoideadh an t-snàthad, ghoideadh e 'm 

He who steals the needle tvonld steal the thimhle. 
He that steals a preen will steal a better thing. — Scot, 
He who steals an egg would steal an ox. — Engl. 


Am fear a labhras olc mu 'mlmaoi, tha e 'cur mi- 
cliliù air fhein. 

M'ho speaks ill of his loife clislionours Ivimself. 
Quien a su muger no honra, a si mismo deslionra. — Span. 

Am fear a laidheas 's a'pholl togaidh e 'n làtliach. 

He who lies in the mud will rise dirty. 

Gin ye fa' doon i' tlie dub, ye'll rise up fylt wi' glaur. — Scot. 

Am fear a mharbliadh a mliathair a cliianamh, bheir- 
eadli e beò a nis i. 

The man that would have killed his mother a little 
ago would bring her alive now. 

Said when a good day appears after a heavy storm, or in any 
similar circumstances. 

Am fear a ni diorras, is iomadh a ni diorras ris. 
He that is obstinate will often meet his match. 

Am fear a ni 'obair 'n a thràth, bidh e 'n a leth 

He that does his turn in time sits half idle. — Scot. 

Am fear a phòsas air son earrais tha e 'reic a 

JF7io xoives for doioer resigns his poivcr. 
Argentum accepi, dote imperium vendidi. — Plautus. 
Qui prend une femme pour sa dot, 
A la liberte tourue le dos. — Fr. 

Am fear a pliòsas bean pòsaidh e dragh. 

He that marries a vnfe marries trouble. 

Have wife, have strife. — Engl. 

Qui femme a, noise a. — Fr. 

I have found no Gaelic proverb expressing anything more un- 
favourable to maniage and to women than this one ; which is 
more than can be said for any of the greater nations of Europe. 

Am fear a ruitlieas an eathar shalacb, theid e air sgeir- 
mhara uair-eigin. 

He that sails afoul-bottomed loat ivill some day run 
on a rock. 

This saying smells strongly of the Hebridean sea. 

Am fear a's f haide 'bba beò rinmh, f huair e 'm bas. 
He vjho lived longest died at last. 


Am fear a's fliaide 'chaidh o'n tigh, 's e'n ceòl 'bu 
bhinne chual e riamh ' tiugainn dachaidh '. 

To him that farthest went avmy the sweetest music 
he ever heard was 'come home\ 

East or West, home (hame) is best. — Engl, and Scot. 

Ost unci West, daheim das Best. — Gervi. 

Oost, West, t' huis hest — Dutch. 

These are all characteristically brief and plain. More tender 
and poetical are the Italian, ' Casa mia, casa mia, per piccina que 
tu sia, tu mi sembri una badia,' and ' Casa mia, mamma mia '. 

Am fear a 's fhaide 'chaidh riamh o'n tigh, bha cho 
fad aige ri tighinn dachaidh. 

The mail that went fccrthest from home had as far to 
come lack. 

Am fear a 's fhaide saoghal 's e 's mo a chi. 

He that lives longest sees most. 

Am fear a'sfliearr achuireas 's e 's fhearr a bhuaineas. 

Jle toho sows hest rea2JS hest. 

Chi mal semina mal raccoglie. — Ital. 

Quien bien siembra, bien coge. — Span. 

Am fear a 's fliche, rachadh e do 'n allt. 

Let him that is wettest go to the hum. 

It is said that a young wife having made this response to her 
husband, who asked for some water on coming home wet, he went 
and fetched a bucketful, which he straightway emptied over her 
head, adding, ' Co's fliche a nis ? ' ' Who is wettest now ? ' There 
is a Breton story exactly to the same efi'ect. 

Am fear a 's hiaitlie làmh 's e 's fhearr cuid. 

Quickest hand gets higgest share. 

See ' Ge b'e 's luaithe làmh,' ' Bidh a' chuid a 's miosa,' &c. 

Am fear a 's lugha toinisg 's e 's àirde mòthar. 
The man of least sense makes most noise, 
A fool also is full of words, — Eccles. x. 14. 

Am fear a 's luime 's e a's luaithe. 
He thai is harest runs hest. 

Let us lay aside every weight, . . . and run with patience 
the race that is set before us. — Heb. xii. 1. 

A sillerless man gangs fast through the market. — Scot. 

Am fear a's mo a gheallas. 's e a 's higha 'choimh- 

He that 2^'i^omises most luill perform least. 


Am fear a 's treas' 'an uachdar, 's am fear a 's luaitli' 
air thoiseacli. 

The strongest above, and the swiftest in front. 

Am fear a th' anus a' chùil biodh a sliùil air an teine. 

He that's in the corner let him loatch the fire. 

This is a pleasant reminiscence of the old Highland life, calling 
up a picture of a cosy gathering round the central peat fire, when 
stories were told, riddles proposed, or songs sung. The person in 
the corner, where a heap of peats was piled, was bound to keep 
his eye on the fire, and throw on peats when required. 

Am fear a theid a dli'iarraidh an iasaid theid e dh'iarr- 
aidh a'bhròin. 

He that goes a-horrowing goes a-sorrowing. — Eng. 

Argent emprunte porte tristesse. — Fr. 

Borgen niaakt zorgen. — Dutch. 

Debts make the cheeks black. — Arab. 

Am fear a theid a ghna a mach le 'lion, gheabli e 
iasg uair-eigin. 

He that goes out regularly with his net will get fish 

The word in Macintosh was ' eun ' not ' iasg,' but the latter is 
the more common form of the saying, the use of nets for catching 
birds having long ago ceased in the Highlands. 

Am fear a theid a mach air na h-uaislean, is duine 
truagh 'am measg chàich e. 

He that quarrels ivith the gentry is a miserable man. 
A very Celtic sentiment, and painfully true. 

Am fear a theid do 'n tigh mhor gun ghnothach 
bheir e gnothach as. 

He that goes ivithout business to the great house will get 
something there to do. 

AL, 'Am fear nach toir gnothach a mach, bheir e gnothach 
dhachaidh', and ' Am fear nach toir gnothach do'n bhaile mhor 
bheir e gnothach as '. 

Am fear a theid 's an dris, fimridh e tighinu aisde 
mar a dh'fhaodas e. 

He that goes among the briers must come out as best he can. 

Am fear a the'id 's an droigheann domh, theid mi 's 
an dris da. 

Who goes through the thorns for mc, Til go through the 
briers for him. 



Am fear a thig anmocli Disathurna, 

'S a dh'fhalbhas moch Diluain ; 
B'fheaiT learn air son a chuideachaidh. 

An duine sin a dh'fhuireach bhuam. 
Wlio comes late on Saturday night, 

A nd early on Monday goes away, 
For any help I get from him, 

I'd rather like him at home to stay. 

Am fear a tliig gun chuireadh suidhidh e gun iarraidh. 
He that comes unhidden will sit doivn unasked. 

Am fear a thug buaidli air fhein thug e buaidh air 

He that conquers himself conquers an enemy. 

He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city. — 
Prov. xvi. 32. 

Iracundiam qui vincit hostem superat maximum. — P. Syrus. 

Wer seinen Zom bez-\vingt, hat einen Feind besiegt. — Germ. 

Am fear aig am beil, cumadh e, 's am fear o 'm bi, 
tarruingeadh e. 

He who has, let him hold, he who ivants let him pull. 
The good old rule, the simple plan, 
That they should take who have the power, 
And they should keep who can. — Wordsworth. 

Am fear aig am bi an Ròimh, bidh an Ròimh aige ri 
chumail suas. 

He that has Rome must keep Rome up. 

Am fear aig am bi im gheabh e im. 

He that has butter will get more. 

He that hath, to him shall be given. — Mark v. 25. 

Am fear aig am bi maighstir bidh fios aig' air. 
He that has a uiaster will know it. 

Am fear air am bi an uireasbhuidh biodh an 

The man that wants must take the trouUe. 

Am fear air am bi an t-anrath, 
Chan ann a's t-Samhradh a's fhas' e. 
He whose portio7i is distress. 
In Summer finds its weiglit no less. 


Am fear air am bi bial bidh sporan. 
He that has a mouth ivill also have a purse. 
This seems to mean that the power of asking and of keeping 
go together. 

Am fear air nach d'tliàinig thig. 

He that has escaped misfortune will meet it yet. 

Am fear d'an dan a'chroich, cha teid gu bràtli a bhàth- 

Who is horn to he hanged will never he drowned. 

Al. Cha mheall an t-uisg'a'chroich. 

The water will never waur the widdie.— SVof. 

I have great comfort from this fellow : methinks he hath no 
drowning mark upon him : his complexion is perfect gallows. — 
The Tempest, Act I., sc. 1. 

Chi è nato per la forca mai s' annegherà. — Ital. 

Wer hangen soil ersaust nicht. — Germ. 

Die geboren is om te hangen, behoeft geen vrees te hebben van 
verdrinken. — Dutch. 

Han drukner ikke der haenges skal, uden Vandet gaaer over 
Galgen. — Van. 

Am fear d'an dan an donas 's ann da a blieanas. 
For whom, ill is fated him it strike s. 

Am fear falamh, 's e gun ni, 

Suidhidh fada shios bho chàch; 

Air mhèud nam bens a bhios 'n a chorp, 

'S ioma lochd a glieabliar dha. 

He that is poor and hare 

Must not sit his hetters near ; 

Be his virtues ecr so rare, 

Many will his faidts appear. 
Al. ' Suidheadh e ' in line 2, and ' na ceille ' in line 3. 
See James ii. 2, 3. 

Am fear leis am fnar, fuaigheadh e. 
He that's cold, let him seio (maJce clothes). 
Am fear leis nach leir a leas, 's mor' de clieill a 
chailleas e. 

He that does not see his good loses vivch the use of sense. 
Am fear nach bi 'n aodann na creige, cha blii eagal 
air gu'n tnit e. 

He that is not in the face of the rock will not he afraid 
of falling. 


Am fear nacli bi olc 'n a aire, clia smaoinich e olc 
fir eile. 

He who means no evil thinks no evil. 

Am fear nach biath a cliù cha stuig. 

Who does not feed his dog ivill not set him, on. 

Am fear nach cluiun gii math, cha toir e freagairt 

He that hears hadly toill answer hadhj. 

Al. ' freagraidh e gu miomhail.' 

En dov Horer gior en galen Svarer. — Dan. 

Am fear nach cluinn ceart cha'n innis ach cearbach. 

He that does not hear well will re'port hadly. 

Am fear nach cuir a chuid 'an cunnart, cha dean e 
call no buinnig. 

He %vho hazards not vjill neither lose nor vnn. 

Naught venture naught have. — Engl. 

Chi non s' arrischia non guadagna. — Ital. 

Quien no se aventura, no ha ventura. — Span. 

Am fear nach cuir a shnaim, caillidh e 'chiad ghreim. 

He that doesn't knot his thread will lose his first stitch. 

Said to have been communicated for a consideration by a 
tailor to his apprentice, as the most vakiable secret in the trade. 

There is a legend that the Devil once took to learning the trade 
of tailor, but quite failed, because he could never put a knot on 
his thread. This may have suggested the title of the popular aii', 
' The Deil amang the Tailors '. 

Am fear nach cuir 's a' Mhàrt cha bhuain e a' s' 

He that doesn't sow in March will not reap in Autumn. 

Am fear nach cuir ri latha fuar, cha bhuain ri latha 

iiHio ivon't sow lohen it is cold shall not reap ivhen 
it is hot. 

Per con. 'S fhearr curachd anmoch na 'bhi gun churachd idir. 
Better sow late than not sov) at all. 

Am fear nach cum cuireadh e mach. 

He that cannot keep let him deliver. 

Am fear nach cunntadh rium cha chunntainn ris. 

I'll keep no reckoning with him thcd keeps no reckon 
ing vjith 7ne. 

The saying of the Gobha Crom, Harry Wynd, at the combat 


on the Inch of Perth. The story goes that Harry, having killerl 
his man, sat dowTi to rest. The chief of the Chm Chattan ca,me 
up, and demanded the reason. Harry said he had fulfilled his 
bargain, and earned his money. ' Him that serves me without 
counting his hours,' said the chief, 'I reward without reckoning 
wages '. Whereupon Harry made the above reply, rose up, and 
resumed the fight. — See Fair Maid of Perth, ch. xxxiv. 

Am fear nach dean bail air bial a' bhiiilg, ni an t-iochd- 
ar bail air fhein. 

If you don't spare the mouth of the hag^ the bottom will 
spare itself 

Better spare at brim than at bottom. — Enrjl. and Scot. 

Bedre at spare paa Bredden, end paa Bunden. — Dan. 

Am fear nach dean Nollaig le 'dheòin^ ni e Càisg a 

He ivho u-orit heep Christmas must keep Easter. 

The Church of Rome requires communion at least once a year, 
and that at Easter. He who omits it at Christmas can't avoid 
it then. Another proverb, however, throws a ditlerent light on 
this one : Am fear nach dean Nollaig shùnndach, ni e' Chàisg gu 
tùrsach dèurach. — He who hasnH a rwrry Christmas \oill have a sad 
and tearful Easter, i.e., he wliose family circumstances prevent him 
from enjoying Christmas will have greater grief before Easter. 

Am fear nach dean obair no gniomh, 

Cha'n fhaigh e biadh feadh nam preas. 

He that neither worJcs nor pushes. 

Won't find food among the hushes. 
Am fear nach dean toil a' Phàpa, fàgadh e an Ròimh, 
He that loon't obey the Poye, let him leave Rome. 
Qui veut vivre à Eome ne doit pas se quereller avec le 
Pape.— i^^r. 

Am fear nach do chleachd an claidheamh, fàgaidh e 
air a tliom e. 

He that's not used to the sword will leave it wliere he sect. 

Am fear nach do thàr gu 'bhogha, thàr gu 'chlaidheamh. 

He that did not get at his boiv got at his sword. 

This alludes to a sudden attack followed by confusion, and 
probable panic, as is suggested by another saying. 

Am fear nach fhanadh ri 'bhogha, cha'n fhanadh ri 

He who wouldn't wait for his bow wouldn't wait for 
his sicord. * 


A still deeper stage of cowardice is indicated in the saying, 
Am fear nach d' fhuair toll, dli' iarr e dorus. 
He that couldn't find a hole sought a door. 

Am fear nach 'eil math air aoidheachd na h-oidhclie 
'thoirt seachad, tha e math ah' saodachadh an rathaid. 

He that is not good at giving a bed is good at showing 
the road. 

See ' Easgaidh mu'n rathad mlior'.' 

He tliat's'^ill o' his harboury is guid at the way-kenning. — Scot. 

Am fear nach eisd ris na 's olc leis, cha'n fhaic e na 
's ait leis. 

He who wont listen to what he dislikes ivont see ivhat 
he likes. 

Am fear nach fhosgail a sporan fosglaidh e 'bhial. 

The man who won't ojxm his purse ivill open his mouth. 

Words cost nothing. — See James ii. 15. 

Am fear nach freagair 'athair no 'mhàthair, freag- 
raidh e ni 's tàire, craicionn an laoigh. 

He that won't listen to father or mother will listen to a 
meaner thing, the calf's skÌ7i. 

Macintosh interprets this as referring to ' ne'er-do-weels ' who 
enlist and follow the drum. But drum-heads are not made of 
calf -skin. 

Am fear nach gabh comhairle gabhaidh e cam-lorg. 

He who won't take counsel ivill take a round-about way. 

The Irish version of this substitutes ' còmhrag ' for ' cam-lorg,' 
which makes good sense. ' Cam-lorg ' also means a crooked stick, 
and the proverb may be rendered accordingly. 

Am fear nach gabh 'n uair a glieabh, cha'n fhaigh 
'n uair is àill. 

He that vjill not when he may, ivhen he wills he shall 
have nay. — Eng. 

Am fear nach gleidh na h-airm 's an t-sith, cha blii 
iad aig 'an am a' chogaidh. 

He that keci^s not his arms in time of peace will have 
none in time of war. 

This is a sound maxim of State jDolicy. 

Weapons bode peace. — Scot. 

One sword keeps another in the sheath. —Engl., Germ., Dan. 

L'armi portan pace.— I^ai. 


Am fear nach guth a ghuth, cha rath a rath, 
Wliose word is no word his hick is no lucJc. 
This is one of the testimonies to the value of truthfulness, in 
which these Gaelic proverbs are not wanting. 

Am fear nacli marcaich ach anmoch caillidh e a spuir. 

He who rides hit late ivill lose his spurs. 

Seldom ride, tine the spurs. — Scot. 

Am fear nach mèudaich an earn, gu mèudaich e 
'chroich ! 

lllio icon't add to the cairn, may he add to the gibbet! 

It was an ancient Celtic custom to erect a cairn, or pile of 
stones, as a memorial of the good fame or infamy of the person 
buried beneath it. In either case it was considered the duty of 
every passer-by to add a stone to the cairn. The above proverb 
seems to refer specially to the case of a criminal's cairn. The term 
' fear air chàrn,' a man on a cairn, is still knowTi in Gaelic as 
signifying an outlaw, or person whose life is forfeited to public 
justice. Sayings having a similar reference are, ' B'fhearr leam e 
'bhi fo chàrn chlach,' I should rather he were under a cairn of 
stones ; ' 'S oil leam nach robh do luath fo chàrn,' I'm sorry 
your ashes are not under a cairn ; and the Welsh, ' Cam ar 
dy ben ! ' (or ' wyueb '). — A cairn on thy head (or face) ! 

A common saying, on the other hand, referring to cairns 
erected in testimony of respect, is ' Cuii-idh mi clach 'ad chàrn.' 
I'll add a stone to your cairn. 

See Smith's Galic Antiquities, pp. 49-53, and Rowlands' Mona 
Antiqua, p. 49. 

Am fear nach misnich cha bhuannaich. 

Who won't venture shall not win. 

Fortuna favet fortibus.— iai. 

Faint heart never won fair lady. — Eng. and Scot. 

Le couard n'aura belle amie. — Fr. 

A los osados ayuda la fortuna. — S^Mn. 

Am fear nach seall roimhe seallaidh e na 'dheigh. 
Me that won't look before him must look behind him. 

Am fear nach teagaisg Dia cha teagaisg duine. 
Whom God teaches not man cannot. 

Am fear nach teich teichear roimhe. 
He that fiees not vjill be fled from. 

Am fear nach teid e fhein gu 'nihnaoi, tuigeadh e gu'n 
teid fear eile. 

He that visits not his wife, wot he that another will. 


Am fear nacli toir an air' air a' bheagan, cha'n airidh 
air a' mhoran. 

He that is not careful of the little is not worthy of 

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithfiil also in 
much. — Luke xvii. 10. 

Die 't klein versmaad, is 't groot niet waard. — Dutch. 

Am fear nach toir an aire dha fhein, bidh each a 
fanaid air. 

He tliat cares not for himself will he made a 
mock of. 

Am fear nach treabh aig a' bhaile cha treabh e as. 

He that won't plough at home won't plough abroad. 

Am fear nach treabh air muir cha treabh e air tir. 

He that will not plough at sea, neither will lie ploiigh 
on land. 

This does not bear out the opinion of some who have repre- 
sented the Highlander as essentially averse to sea-faring. 

Am fear 'tha grad gu gealladh, 's trie leis mealladh. 
Quick to promise often deceives. 

Am fiar a thig a mach 's a' Mhàrt, theid e 's tigh 's a' 

The grass that comes out in March shrinks away in 

Cito maturum, cito pntridum. — Lat. 

Presto niaturo, presto marzo. — Ital. 

Soon ripe, soon rotten. — Eng. 

Am fitheach a' cur a mach a theanga leis an teas. 

The raven putting out his tongue for heat. 

Am fitheach a dh'eireas moch, 's ann leis a bhios sùil 
a' bheothaich a tha 's a' pholl. 

The raven that rises early gets the eye of the beast in 
the bog. 

Am foinne mu 'n iath a' ghlac, 
Is niarachd mac air am bi ; 
Am foinne mu 'n iath a' bhròg, 
Is niarachd bean òg air am bl. 
Wart on palm is luck to lad, 
Wart on in-step luck to lass. 


Am mac air an spàrr 's an t-athair gun blireith. 

Tiic son on the roost and the father tinhorn. 

This is one of many ingenious Gaelic riddles, and means the 
smoke of a fire which has not yet kindled. It is applied as a 
proverb to the case of anything loudly heralded before it has 
come into existence. 

Am mios biiidh. 

The yelloiv month — Juli/. 

Am mlos dubh. 

The black month — November. 

Am mios marbh. 

The dead month — December to January. 

Am port a's fhearr a ghabh Euairidh riamb gbabh- 
teadh seirbbe dbetb. 

Tlie best tune Rory ever played might tire one. 

At. Fàsarsgith de'n cheòl a 's binne. 

Eoderick Morrison, called Euairidh Dall, Blind Eory, a cele- 
brated harper, and bard to MacLeod of MacLeod. See App. IL 

Amadan an da fbichead bliadbna cha bhi e ciall- 
ach ri 'bbeò. 

The fool of forty ivill never be vAse. 

Quien a veinte no es galan, ni a treinta tiene fuerza, ni a qua- 
renta riqueza, ni a cincuenta esperiencia, ni sera galan, ni fuerte, 
ni rico, ni prudente. — Span. 

Amadan na mi-thoirt, bbiodh meas duine gblic air 
na'm biodb e'n a thosd. 

Tlie poor fool would pass for a loise man if he held 
his tongue. 

Al. Saoilidh iad gu 'm beil e glic, ma bhios e trie 'n a thosd. 

Doeth dyn tra tawo — Wise is man while silent. — Welsh. 

Even a fool when he holdeth his peace is counted wise. — 
Prov. xvii. 28. 

A wise look may secure a fool, if he talk not. — Eng. 

Nichts sieht einem gescheidten Mann ahnlicher, als ein Xarr 
der das Maul halt. — Genn. 

El bobo, si es callado, por sesudo es reputado. — S'pan. 

Karren er andre Folk liig saa leenge han tier. — Dan. 

Amaisidh an dall a bbial. 
The blind can hit his mouth. 

Amas rogbainn. 
Chance choice. 


Amhairc romliad mu 'n toir thu do lèum. 
Look hcfore you leap. 

Amharus a' mhèirlich air Ailein. 
The tliiefs suspicion of honest Allan. 

Amhlaireachd Chlann-Mhic-Philip. 

The rude absurd play of the MacKillops. 

The word ' Amhlaireachd ' is very difficult to translate, and 
probably nobody will be satisfied with the translation, least of 
all the MacKillops. The saying is given for what it is worth, 
which is perhaps little. Other clans, still more notable than the 
MacKillops, are characterised in sayings which the editor has 
thought proper to give, such as they are. 

Au car a bliios 's a' mhàthair, 's gnà leis a blii 's an 

The twist of the mother is iiatural to the daughter. 

An car a bliios 's an t-seana mliaide 's duilich a tlioirt 

The crook in the old stick is ill to take out. 

An car a nitear a dh-aindeoin bidh e cam no car- 

Whai is do7ie umoillingly loill he done with a twist or 

An ceann 's na casan a' chuid a 's fhasa 'roinn ; bidh 
an ceann aig fear an tighe, 's na casan aig a' chloinn. 

The head and trotters are the easiest shared ; the head 
to the goodman, the trotters to the hairns. 

An ciad latha de'n ghaoith deas, 

An dara latha de'n ghaoith niar, 

An treas latha de'n ghaoith tuath, 

S' a' ghaoth near gach uair 'us ial, 

Fii'st day south wind. 

Second day vjcst vnnd, 

Third day north wind,, 

East vnnd always. 

This is meant to indicate the order in which the wind generally 
goes round the compass on the West coast in Summer, when it 
blows oftenest from the East. 

An ciad Mhàrt, leig seachad ; an dara Mart, ma 's 
eudar ; an treats Mart, ged nach rachadh clach ceann-a- 


mheòir an aghaidh na gaoithe tuath, cuir an siol 's an 

The first Ttiesday let pass ; the second if iiecd he ; the 
third, though you coiddnt send a stone a nail's breadth 
against the north wind, soiv your seed. 

Al. ' ged nach cuireadh tu doirneag.' 

Other proverbs, such as ' Cuir do shiol 's a' Mhàrt,' indicate 
that the luonth of March was formerly considered the right time 
for sowing in the Highlands. The third week of March, Old 
Style, would be the first week of April, New Style, which would 
now be considered too early. The reason for naming Tuesday 
seems to be, that Monday was considered an unlucky day for 
begluning any work of importance. 

An cleaclidadh a bh'aig Nial, bha e riamli ris. 

The habit Neil had he always stuck to. 

lann eo, lann e vo— John he is, John he will h^.— Breton. 

An cleaclidadh a bliios aig duin' a's tigh, bidli e aig' 
air cheilidh. 

As his habits are at home, so they are vnth straiigers. 

' An cnocan, an cnocan,' ars' a' cliailleacli gu leòdach, 
' far an do cliaill mi mo Gliàidhlig, 's nach d' f huair mi 
mo Bhèurla'. 

' The hillock, the hillocTc,' said the old woman, lisping, 
' where I lost my Gaelic, and did not find my English.' 

This is given as a known saying in one of Dr. Macleod's racy 
contributions to the Teachdaire Gaidhecdach. No man had a 
keener appreciation of the absurd conceit which leads some weak- 
minded Celts to affect ignorance of their mother-tongue after a 
few months' absence in the Lowlands, from which they bring 
home a kind of English so fine as to be unintelligible. 

An co'dhalta nach dearbh 'àite, 's mairg a dh' àraich 
duine riamh. 

The foster-child that proves it not, pity him that reared. 

The closeness of relationship established by fosterage among 
the Celts is almost without parallel ; and the sayings and stories 
illustrative of this are numerous. * Comh-dhaltas gu ciad, 'us 
càirdeas gu fichead.' — Fostership to a hundred, blood-relation to 
twenty degrees, is perhaps the strongest expression of Highland 
feeling on this point. 

'An coinneamh roghainn. 

Facing choice. 

Prepared for any alternative. 

At> crannroimh nadamh. 

The plough hcfore the oxen. 

The cart before the horse. 

An cron a bhios 's an aodann cha'n fhaodar a chleitli. 

The fault that's in the face cannot he concealed. 

An dall air muin a' chrùbaich. 
The Hind on the hack of the cripple. 

'An dèigh cogaidh tliig sith. 

After war comes peace. 

'An deigh gaoithe thig uisge. 

After wind comes rain. 

'An deireadh an latha is math na h-eòlaich. 

At the close of the day the stilled are good. 

See ' Is ann air deireadh an latha '. 

An dubhan an aghaidh a' chròcain. 

The hook against the crook. 

An duine 's miosa càradh, an duine gun chinneadli 
'thaobh athar no màthar. 

The man of worst condition, he who has no kin hy father 
or mother. 

An Fhèinn air a h-uilinn. 

The Feinn on its elbow. 

The ' Feinn ' {i.e., Fionn or Fingal and his men) were laid 
spell-bound, 'fo gheasaibh,' in a cave which no man knew 
of. At the mouth of the cave hung a horn, ' diidach,' which if 
any man ever should come and blow three times, the spell would 
be broken, and the Feinn would rise alive and well. A hunter 
one day, wandering in the mist, came on this cave, saw the horn, 
and knew what it meant. He looked in and saw the Feinn lying 
asleep all round the cave. He lifted the horn and blew one blast. 
He looked in again, and saw that the Feinn had wakened, but lay 
still with their eyes staring, like those of dead men. He took the 
horn again, blew another blast, and instantly the Feinn all moved, 
each resting on his elbow. Terrified at their aspect, the hunter 
turned and fled homewards. He told what he had seen, and 
accompanied by friends, went to search for the cave. They 
could not find it, it has never again been found ; and so, there 
still sit, each resting on his elbow, waiting for the final blast to 
rouse them into life, the spell-bound heroes of the old Celtic 
world !— See Gael, Vol. II., p. 241. 

Another version of this fine legend lays the scene in the heart of 


tliat beautiful liill called Tomnaliiuricli near Inverness. A man 
found himself one evening at the entrance of a cave leading into 
the bowels of the hiU. He entered, and saw the Feinn lying all 
around. From the roof of the cave hung a chain that would 
ring when shaken — 'Slabhruidh — eisdeachd' audience-chain. He 
shook it, and it sounded a ringing peal, at which the sleeping 
heroes awoke, and turned their great cold eyes on the man. The 
poor creature instantly took to his heels, and rushed out of the 
cave and down the hill, hearing behind him. amid the howling of 
w;xkened deerhounds, a voice that cried, 'A dhuine dhona ghòraich, 
is miosa 'dh' f hag na 'fhuair thu ' ! Thou wretched foolish man, 
that worse left than thou foundest ! 

An gad air an robh 'n t-iasg. 
TJie witlie mi vjhich the fish vjas. 

An gad a 's faisge do 'u sgòrnan, 's e 's coir a gliear- 
radh an toiseach. 

The withe next the loindpipe should he cut first. 

Before hemp was used in this country the commonest kind of 
rope was made of t\visted twigs of osier or birch, as it was 
in the days of Samson and the Philistines. "Ulien a criminal 
was hanged with one of these rude ropes (whence the Scottish 
term ' mddie,' = ' withy '), any one A\'ishing to save his life 
would cut the -R-ithe round his throat, or if a horse fell aiid 
was in danger of being .strangled by his harness, the same rule 
would follow. — See Note by R. MacAdam, on Irish proverb 
' Gearr an gad is foisge do 'n sgòrnach '. — Ulster Journal of 
ArchmoL, Vol. VI., p. 178. Lord Bacon, in his Essays ('Of 
Custom ') says he remembers that " an Irish rebel condemned put 
up a petition to the deputy that he might be hanged in a "wyth, and 
not in an halter, because it had been so used with former rebels." 

An gog mor 's an t-ubh beag. 
Loud cackle, little egg. 
Great cry and little ^voo\.—Eng. 
Grand vanteur, petit faiseur.— i^r. 

An gran a's luaith' a theid do'n mhuileanu, 's e 's 
luaitb' a thig as. 

The grain that soonest goes to mill, icill come soonest out. 
Ante molam primus qui venit non molat imus. — Lat. 
Chi primo arriva al molino primo macina. — Ital. 
Quien primero viene primero muele. — Span. 
Hvo der kommer forst til ]\Iòlle faaer forst malet. — Dan. 
Qui premier arrive au mouUn premier doit mouldre. — Fr. 
An Inid, an ciad Mhàrt de'n t-solus Earraich. 
Slirove-tidc, the first Tuesday of the Spring muon. 


An Inid bheadaidh, thig an latha roimh'n oidliche. 

The forward Shrove-tide, day comes before the niyht. 

This means that the Feast comes before the Vigil. 

An inisg 'g a cur, 's a bun aig a' bhaile. 

The reproach getting spread, and its root at home. 

An la a chi 's nach f haic. 

Every day — present or ahsent. 

This is one of the most frequently used of familiar sayings — 
usually added to a farewell, e.g. 'Beannachd leat, an la 'chi 's nach 
fhaic,' or 'a h-uile latha'. Curiously enough, this favourite phrase 
was not included in either edition of Macintosh. 

An lagh a rinn Solamh fuiligeadh e leis. 

Solomon shoidd suffer ty his oivn law. 

An la 'bliios sinn ri orach, biomaid ri orach; ach an 
la 'bhios sinn ri maorach biomaid ri maorach. 

When we are after gold, let us he at it ; hut %vhcn we 
are after shell-fish, let us he at it. 

The chiefs of the Macleods and of the Macdonalds each kept 
a fool, and laid a bet which of the two was the greater fool. Both 
were ordered to go to the shore and gather shell-fish. A piece of 
gold was placed where it would attract their notice. " Look here," 
said the Macdonald fool to his companion, " here's gold ". " Yes, 
yes," said the other, " when we are after gold, let us be," &c. It 
is a question, from the point of view of the highest wisdom, which 
of the two was the greater fool. 

An làmh a bheir 's i a gheabh. 

The hand that gives is the hand that gets. 

The liberal soul shall be made fat. — Prov. vi. 25. 

'An làrach nam bonn. 

On the spot. 

Literally ' in the print of the soles'. 

An leanabh a dh'fhàgar dha f hein cuiridh e 'mhàthair 
gu nàire. 

The child that's left to himself will put his mother to 

An leanabh nach foghluim thu ri d' ghlùn, cha'n 
fhoghluim thu ri d' chluais. 

The child ichom you teach not at your knee, you icont 
teach at your car. 

Al. Am fear nach lùb ri glùn cha liib ri iiilinn. 

Betwixt three and thirteen thraw the woodie while it's green. 

This wise Scottish maxim is now substantially embodied in 


an Act of Parliament (35 & 36 Vict., c. 62), Sect. 69 of which 
enacts that " It shall be the duty of every parent to provide ele- 
mentary education in reading, writing, and arithmetic, for his 
chikben between five and thirteen years of age ". 

An lionn a ni duine dha fhein, òladh e a leòr dheth. 
The ale a man makes for himself let Aim have his 
fill of 

The use and brewing of ale in the Highlands in former 
times, before any stronger drink was common, is indicated by 
several proverbs. The application of this proverb, and of the 
next, is very much the same as that in reference to a man's choice 
of a Ijed to lie on. 

An lionn a rinn tliu a d' dlièoin, òlaidh tu a d' dhain- 
deoin deth. 

The ale you made williiigly youll drink against your 

An lon-dubh, an lon-dubh spàgach ! thug niise dha 
coille fhasgach fhenrach, 's thug esan dhomh an mon- 
adh dubh fàsach. 

The hlackhird ! the sprawling hlackbird ! I gave him a 
sheltered grassy ivood, and he gave me the Mack desolate 

Supposed by some (Note in the second edition of Macintosh) 
to refer either to the Roman or to the Scandinavian invader. It 
seems more applicable to some recent invaders, but the meaning 
is obscure. 

An luibh nach fhaighear, cha'n i 'chobhras. 

The herb that can't he found can never heal a wound. 

An naigheachd a 's mo am bliadhna 's i 's higha an 

The greatest neivs this year tvill he least the next. 

An neach a gheilleas do ghiseagan geilleadh giseagan 

Him that yields to spells, let spells yield to. 

Al. — Na geill do ghis, 's cha gheill gis,dhut. 

He that follows freets, freets will follow him. — Scot. 

An neach a shineas a làmh sìneadh e 'clias. 

Ife that stretches his hand must stretch his foot. 

There are two interpretations of this : the one is, that he that 
' lifts ' had better run ; the other, that the too liberal may some 
day need to go dunning or begging. 


An neach a's tàire 'bhios a' s 'tigh, 's ann leis a's àirde 

The meanest jperson in the house brags most of his 

* We hounds slew the hare,' quo' the blear-eyed messan. — Scot. 

An neach nach ciiin 'n a chadal, cha chinn e 'n a 

He that grovjs not in his sleep will not grovj ivhen he's 

An ni 'clii na big 's e 'ni na big. 

What the little ones see, the little ones do. 

An ni 'chluinneas na big, 's e 'chanas na big. 
What the little ones hear, the little ones say. 

Ai! the old cock crows, so crows the young. — Eng. 

Wie die Alten singeu, so zwitschern auch die Juugen. — Gerni. 

Som de Gamle synge, saa tviddre de Unge. — Dan. 

An ni 'chuir na niaoir a dli-Ifrinn, farraid an ni a 
b'fheaiT a b'aithne dliaibh. 

Wliat sent the ojjicers to hell, asking what they knew 
full well. 

The Maor (a name generally applied to bailiffs and other 
inferior civil officers) was, and perhaps still is, a person invete- 
rately disagreeable to the Celtic mind. 

An ni a chum an eidheann o na gobhair. 

What kept the ivy from tlie goats. 

The inaccessibility of the rock or wall. Goats are said to be 
very fond of ivy. 

An ni a gheall Dia, cha mheall duine. 
What God has j^romised man cannot baulk. 

What God will, no frost can kill. — Eng. 

Wham God will help nane can hender. — Scot. 

L'homme propose, et Dieu dispose.— i^r. 

El hombre propone, y Dies dispone.— -S/^an. 

Mennesket spaaer, Gud raa'er. — Dan. 

An ni a than dan tachraidh e. 
The fated tvill happen. 
Che sarà, sarà. — Ital. 
Det kommer vel der skee skal. — Dan. 

An ni a thig leis a ghaoith, falbhaidh c Icis an uisgc. 
What comes tvith the loind loill go mth the rain. 
Lightly come, lightly go. — Eiig. 


Comfi wi' the wind and gang wi' the water. — Scot. 

Ligt gekomen, ligt gegaan. — Dutch. 

Cha daink lesh y gheay, nach ragh lesh yn ushte. — Manx. 

An ni nach cluinn thn 'n diugii, clia'n aithris thu 

What you do not hear to-day, you will not report io- 

Al, Miir cluinneadh tu sin, cha'n abradh tu e. 

An ui nach 'eil caillte gheabhar e. 

What is not lost can he got. 

An ni nach fios do na mnathan ceilidh iad. 
What the women don't hiotv they'll conceal. 
Women conceal all that they know not. — Eng. 
I well believe 
Thon wilt not utter what thou dost not know, — 
And so far wiU I trust thee, gentle Kate. 

Henry IV., Part I. 
A ni nach gabh nighe, cha ghabh e fàsgadh. 
What will not wash will not wring. 

A ni 'ni subhach an darna aba ni e dubhach an t-ab' 

What makes one abbot glad, makes another abbot sad. 
Ce qui nuit à I'un, duit à 1 'autre. — Fr. 
Non pianse mai uno che non ridesse un altro. — Ital. 

An obair a thòisicheas Diluain, biclh i hiath no bidh i 

The work that begins on Monday loill be cither quick or 

Monday, being the first free day of the week, gives a good 
chance for getting on with work, but if one relies too much on 
having abundance of time, the work will probably be put off. 

An oidhch' a mharbhar am mult, agus an oidhcli' a 
theirigeas e. 

The night the wedder is killed, and the night it's finished. 

The suggestion is that the repast should be liberal on both 

An òrdag 'an aghaidh na glaice. 
The thumb against the palm. 

An ràmh a's faisg' iomair. 

Pidl the oar that's nearest. 



An ran mor agiis an gal tioram. 
Gi^eat cry and iveeping dry. 

An rathad fada glan, 's an rathad goirid salacli. 
Tlie long clean road, and the short dirty road. 
Sliort cuts often lead into mire. So is it also with those who 
hasten to ' get on ' in the world. 

An rud a bliios 'n ad bhroinn, cha bhi e 'n ad 

What's in yir tvame's no in yir testament. — Scot. 
Fat housekeepers make lean executors. — Eng. 
Fette Kiiche, magere Erbschaft. — Germ. 
Grand chère, petit testament. — Fr. 
Grassa cucina, magro testamento. — Ital. 

An rud a chiuneas 's a' chnàimh cha tig e as an fheòil. 
What's hrcd in the bane will bide in the flesh. — Scot. 
An rud fhàsas 's a chnàimh, ni feadar a dhibirt as a 
bh-fheòil. — Ir. 

Wat in 't gebeente gegroeid is, wil uit het vleesch niet. — Dutch. 

An rud a cliiiir an earb air an loch — an eigin. 
What made the roe tahe the loch — necessity. 

An rud a chuireas duine 's e 'bhuaineas e, mar a thuirt 
an òinseach a bha 'cur na mine. 

What man sows that will he reap, as the silly ivoman 
sai(^- when she sowed meal. 

An rud a chuireas e n a cheann cuiridh e 'n a chasan e. 
What he puts into his head goes to his feet. 

An rud a dh'fhalbhas cha'n e a dh'fhoghnas. 
That which goes ivont suffice. 

Aij rud a gheabhar aig ceann an Deamhain, cailleir 
e aig 'earball. 

What is got at the DeviVs head ivill be lost at his tail. 

What's gotten ower the Deil's back is spent below his 
belly.— Sco^. 

]\iale partimi, male disperit. — Plant. Ill gotten, ill spent. — Eng. 

Hvad man med Synd ftiaer, det med Sorg gaaer. — Bcm. 

An rud a ni e le 'chrògan, millidh e le 'spògan, coltach 
ri d' sheana-bhrògan Gàidhealach. 

What he docs ivith his hands he spoils with his feet, 
like your old Highland brogues. 


An rud a ni math do bhàillidh Dliiùra, cha dean e 
cron do'n Eùsgan Mac-Phàil. 

What's good for the Jura factor will do no harm to 
Fleecy M'Phail. 

There was a small Jura farmer of the name of M'Phail, nick- 
named ' Rusgan,' whom the factor liked, but took pleasure in 
chaffing. One day when E. came to pay his rent, the factor 
helped himself from the bottle which always stood on the table, 
and said to R. : 'I think you are better without this,' to which 
R. replied as above, and proceeded to help himself. This saying, 
trivial as was its origin, has survived for two centuries. 

An rud a nitear gu math chitear a bhuil. 
What is done loell, its effect will tell. 

An rud a nitear 's a'chùil, thig e dh'ionnsuidh an teine. 
Whafs done in the corner will come to the hearth. 

An rud a's èudar 's eudar e. 
What must be must. 

An rud a' their a' h-uile duine bithidh e fior. 
WJuit everyhody says must he true. 

There is no proverb of such general acceptance as this with 
so little truth- in it. 

An rud anns an teid dàil theid dearmad. 
Belay brings neglect. 

An rud nach bi air an t-slinnein bidh e air an 

Wluit is not on the shoulder ivill he on the loin. 

An rud nach binn le duine cha chluinn duine. 
What is not pleasant to his ear a man will not hear. 

An rud nach cluinn cluas cha ghluais cridhe. 
What the ear hears not, the heart moves not. 
Faith cometh by hearing.— St. Paul. 

An rud nach do bhuilich Dia cha'n fhad a mheal - 
ar e. 

What God bestowed not tvon't be long enjoyed. 
Ill-won gear winna enrich the third heir.— &o^. 
Unrecht Gut thut nicht gut. — Germ. 

An rud nach laidh ann ad rod, cha bhrist e do lurg. 
What doesn't lie in your way wont break your leg. 


An rud nach tig 's nach d'thàinig dhachaidh, gmtlian 
na h-earba gun bhracliadh. 

What never came nor will come home, the roe's liver 

An ruith air an ruaig, 's an ruaig air an ruith. 
The chase retreating, and tlie rout running. 

'An run nam biodag dh' a chèile. At daggers draiving. 

An saoghal a' dol ma seach, 's an t-each air muin a 

The world going ujjside down, the horse mounted on the 

An sean-fhacal gu fada fior, chabhriagaichearansean- 

The old saying long proved true shall never he belied. 

Pareceme, Saucho, que no hay refran que no sea verdadero. — 
Don Quixote. 

An searracli 'Iju choir a blii 'n a lair 's ann a dh'fliàs 
e 'n a ghearran. 

The foal that shoidd have hcen a mare grew iiito a 

Said of an over-presumptuous youth, 

'An sinead 's 'an doiiad, mar a bha ciiilein a' mliadaidh- 

The older the worse, like the fox's ivhelp. 

Al. — Piseach cuilean a mhadaidh-ruaidh, mar a's sin' e 's ann 
a 's miosa. 

An sneaclid nach tig mu Shamhuinn thig gu reamhar 
mu Fheill-Brighde. 

The snow that comes not at Hallowmass will come thick 
at Candlemas. 

An solus ùr 's a chùl ri làr. 

T}ie new moon with her hack dowmvards. 

An t-ainm gun an tairbhe. The name tcithout the profit. 

An taobh a bhios 'an dan do'n droing dol, cha bhac 
àth no aonach. 

Where folk's fate is to go, ford or hill wont prevent. 
Fram eru feigs gotur — The 'fey ' man's road is straight — Icel. 


An taobh a chuir thu 'n gruth, ciiir 'n a 'shruth am 

Where you made the curds to go, you may set the whey 

An taobh a theid an fheannag bheir i 'feaman leatlia. 

When the craw flees her tail folloivs. — Scot^ 

An taobh a's bòidhche de'n chònihla.. 

The prettiest side of the door. 

The outside of a iiiaindoor is meant, but not in a metaphori- 
{.'al sense. The outside was usually planed, and sometimes painted, 
the inside left rough. 

An taoman na's mo na'n long. 

The hater higycr than the boat. 

An t-each a bhuailear 's a cheann bidh e sgàthach. 

The horse that is struck in the head will he full of fear. 

He will start at every movement of his master, anticipating 
another stroke. This extreme sensitiveness, painful to see, as the 
result of brutal treatment, is still more painful to see among 
school children, as it sometimes, though happily not often, is. 

An teine 'ni duine dha fhein, 's e 'choir a gharadh ris. 

The fire one makes for himself he ims a right to he, 
warmed at. 

An ti a shh^eas air gach aithneach,. 

The one that asks of every acquaintance. 

An t-iasg a chriomas gach boiteag, theid a ghlacadh 

The fish that hites every worm (i.e., hait) will he caught 
some time. 

An tinneas a's fhearr na'n t-slàinte. 

The illness that's hetter than health. 

This is a euphemistic Celtic form of describing cliildbirth. 

An tir do 'n tigear is i 'ghabhar. 

The land that's come to will he taken. 

An tobar nach traoigh. 

The fountain that dries not up. 

This is one of the ' dubh-f hacail ' or ' dark sayings,' the mean- 
ing of which can only be conjectured. It probably refers to the 
goodness of God. 

'An toiseach an t-saic tha'n riaghailt. 

In the mouth of the sack is the measure. 


An triùir nach fulling an cniodachadh, seann bliean, 
cearc, agus caora. 

The three that won't hear caressing, an old vjoman, a, 
hen, and a sheej). 

An t-strathair 'an àite na diollaid. 

The pack-saddle in place of the saddle. 

An t-suirdhe clinaparra. The sturdy wooinq. 
This means, of course, what is called ' Scotch wooing '. 

An tuagli 'an deigh an tail, 's an tàl 'an deigh an 

The axe after the adze, and the adze after the plane. 

An t-uasal Leathaineaeh, 's an ceatharnacli Eaon- 

The gentleman of Clan MacLcan, and the warrior of 
Clan Ranald. 

The MacLeans have generally got credit for a certain high-bred 
polish, on which they rather plume themselves. ' An cinne mor, 
's am pòr mi-shealbhach,' — The great race, and the unfortunate 
seed, is one of their sayings of themselves. Another is, ' Ged 
'tha mi bochd, tha mi uasal, — buidheachas do Dhia, 's ann de 
Chlann lUeathain mi ! ' — Though I am poor, I am well-l)orn — God 
be thanked, I am a MacLean ! The Macdonalds, on the other 
hand, bear the character of manliness and force, with a tendency 
to swagger. ' Spagadagliog Chlann DònuiU agus leòm Leath- 
aineaeh' — The Macdonald ostentation, and the MacLean atfecta- 
tion, is a saying of this import. 

An t-ubh a thoirt as a' ghog. 
Guessing the egg from the cackle. 

An uair a bhios a' bhrù làn, 's miann leis an t-sùil 

When the helly isfvll, then the eye waxes dull. 
* An uair ' is always pronounced 'Nuair colloquially, and is 
generally so written. It is sometimes even degraded into 'dar'. 

An uair a bhios a' ghaoth air chall, iarr a deas i. 

When there is no wind, seek it in the south. 

Yn chiuney smoo erbee, geay jiass sniessy j'ee. — Manx. 

An uair a bhios a' mhuc sàthach, cinnidh an drabh 

As the sow fills the draff sours. — Eng., Scot, 


An uair a bhios am pobuU dall, ni an gille cam min- 

When the congregations hlind, the one-eyed lad luill 
suit their mind. 

< The one-eyed is king among the blind.' See 'Is righ an cam'. 

An uair a bhios am port a' fas fada, bidh e 'fas searbh. 
When the tune gets tiresome it gets harsh. 

An uair a bhios an cupan Ian, cuiridh e thairis. 
When the cup is full it toill overflow. 

An uair a's lain' an cupan, 's ann a 's dorr' a ghiùlan. 

When the cup is fullest it is most dijficult to carry. 

Al. Is duilich cupan Ian a ghiulan. 

A fu' cup is ill to caiTy. Wlien the cup is fu' cany it even. — Scot. 

Plenitude of power or wealth is difficult to bear without over- 
bearing. The saying is meant to correct that tendency, specially 
developed in upstarts. 

An uair a bhios an deoch a 's tigh, bidh an ciall a mach. 
When drink's in tvifs oot. — Scot. 
Vino dentro, senno fuora. — Ital. 
Do entra beber, sale saber. — Span. 

Als de wijn ingaat, gaat de wijsheid uit. Wanneer de wijn is 
in de man, dan is de wijsheid in de kan. — Dutch. 
Naar Ollet gaaer ind, da gaaer Viddet ud. — Dan. 

An uair a bhios each air an eathar, bidh siubhal nan 
tighean aig Loiream. 

While the rest are tvith the hoat, Trifler goes from house 
to house. 

This is a Lewis saying, applied to contemptible fellows who 
stay at home, while proper men go hazarding their lives at sea. 
Similar is, ' Bog-a-loireag, math air tir, 'us diblidh air muir '. 

An uair a bhios gill' agad, tarruing a chluas. 
When you have a servant pull his ear. 

An uair a bliios mise thall, gearr an drochaid. 
When I am over, cut down the bridge. 

An uair a bhios Murchadh 'n a thàmh, bidh e 'ruamhar. 

JVJien Micrdoeh takes rest he delves. 

This is said to have be*n spoken by a farmer's wife in Jura of 
her husband, who was of a type rather rare in the Highlands. 
"WTien in to dinner from ploiighing in the fields, he would say to 
his men, 'Nach toir sinn làmh air a' chàl, fhad 's a bhios sinn 'na ar 
tàmh' — Let us take a turn at plantiug the kale while we are idle. 


An uair a bliios an sgadan mu tliuath, bidh Murch- 
adh ruadh mu dlieas. 

When tJie herring is in the north, red Murdoch is in 
the south. 

Red Murdoch is the restless, unlucky man, always out of the 
way when something good is to be got. 

An uair a bhios m aig a' chat, ni e crònan, 
Wlien the cat leas something she purrs. 
' Applied to such mean persons as are too noisy and insufferable 
when they once become rich.' — Note by Macintosh. 

An uair a bhios rud a dhith air Dònull, gheabh e 
fhein e. 

When Donald loants anything, hell get it himself. 

Donald represents the pushing man who will not be over-nice 
in helping himself to what he wants. ' DònuU da fhein,' Donald 
for himself, is a somewhat similar phrase. 

An uair a bhuaileas tu cù buail gu math e. 

When you strike a dog, strike him v:ell. 

An uair a chailleas an saor a riaghailt, claonaidh na 

When the carpenter loses his rule the hoards ivill go 

An uair a chailleas duin' a stòras, cha'n fhiù a sheòl- 
adh no 'chomhairle. 

When a man loses his means, his direction and advice 
go for nothing. 

Ffol pob tlawd — Foolish is every poor one. — Welsh, 

Arme lui wijsheid gaat meest verloren. — Dutch. 

In armer Leute Mund verdirbt viel Weisheit. — Germ. 

An uair a chi thu bean oileanach, beir oirre, beir 
oirre ; mur beir thus' oirre, beiridh fear eile oirre. 

When you see a ivell-hred vjoman, catch her, catch her ; 
if you don't do it, another ivill match her. 

An uair a dh'èireas Iain dubh, laidhidh am ministear. 

When black John rises, the minister lies down. 
The " minister's man" — an important functionary in Scotland. 
See Dean Ramsay's Reminiscences. 

An uair a dh'ithear an t-arbhar is ann a thogas an 
bodach an gàradli. 

When tJie corn is eaten, the silly body builds the dyke. 


An uair a gheabh an leibidean a's tigh, 's e fear an 
tighe 'n truaghan. 

When the trifier gets in, pity the goodman of the hovse. 

An uair a lasas sin, ni e teine. 

When that lights it will make afire. 

Fire, quotli the fox, when he — on the ice.— Eng. 

The Gaelic proverb is connected with the same parable as the 
English one, coarse hut comical. 

An uair a gheabh sinn biadh gheabh sinn poit. 

When we get food well get a j)ot. 

A good maxim for young couples, intent upon furnishing a 
house. Be sure of your Hving first. 

An uair a leumas e an Fheill-Brighde, cha'n earb an 
sionnach 'earball ris an deigh. 

When Candlemas is past, the fox ivon't trust his tail to 
the ice. 

There may be hard frost at that season, but it cannot be de- 
pended on. 

An uair a laidlieas a' ghaoth, 's maoth gach sian. 

No tveather's ill, if the wind he still. — Eng., Scot. 

An uair a mhiosaicheas an t- Earrach, tha e sios 'us 
suas tuille. 

When the Scoring is past a month, it's np and down 

The husbandman after that can go on steadily with his work. 

An uair a's àirde 'sheòlas an ceard-dubhan, 's ann 's 
an làthaich a thuiteas e. 

When the dung-heetle flies highest, it's in the dirt it falls. 

An uair a's Ciadaoineach an t-Samhuinn, is iargain- 
each fir an domhain. 

When Hallowmciss fcdls on Wednesday, all men are 

Supposed, no one knows why, to portend a severe winter. 

An uair a's fhearr an ckiich, 's fhearr sgur. 

When the play is best, 'tis best to ecase. 

Al. ' Am beadradh,' the 'daffing'. 

Tra s' reaie yn chloie, share faagail jeh. — Manx. 

Lascia la burla quando piii place. — Ital. 

A la burla, dejarla quando mas agrada. — 8pan. 

Wenn der Scherz am besten ist, soil man aufhoren. — Germ. 

Naai Legen er feirest, er han bedst at lade fare. — Dan. 


An uair a's lugha 'n naigheachd, 's ann a 's mo an t-sitli. 

Least news most i^eace. 

No news is good news. — Eng. 

An uair a 's mo 'n eigin, dearbhar an caraid dileas. 

A friend in need is a friend indeed. — Eng. 

An uair a's truim' an t- uisge, 's ann a's giorr' a 

When the rain is heaviest 't ivill be sootiest over. 

An uair a's teinne air duine, 's e 'cheann a cheart 

When a man is most in straits, his head is his best 

Literally, ' his head is his real neck,' i.e., he must rely on his 
own brains to hold up his head. See ' An uair a theid duine '. 

An uair a'steinn'an taod, 's ann a's dòch' e bristeadh. 

When the rope is tightest it is nearest breaking. 

Po tjTiaf fo'r llinyn cynt af y tyr. — Welsh. 

Naar Strsengen er stindest, da brister han snarest. — Dan. 

An uair a sguireas am miar de shileadli, sguiridh am 
bial de mboladb. 

When the finger ceases to distil, the mouth ceases to 

Irish and Manx nearly in same words, ' làmh ' for ' miar '. 

An uair a shaoil leat a bhi air muin na muice, 's ann 
a bha thu làmh rithe 's an liiib. 

When you thought you were on the sov/s bach, you iverc 
beside her in the ptuddle. 

An uair a thainig e gus a h-aon 's gus a dlià. 

When it came to one and two. 

An uair a tharruingeas gach duin' a cbuid h-uige, 
's mairg a bhios gun cliuid aige. 

When every man draws his share, pity him who has 
none at all. 

An uair a tbeid a' chailleach 'n a ruith, theid i 'n a 

When the old wife runs she runs with a vengeance. 

An uair a theid duine gu luim, 's e 'dhruim a's taice 

When a man goes down, his oivn bach is his svjJj^ort. 

Selbst ist der Mann. — Germ. 


An uair 'theid bior 's an losgann ni e sgriach. 
When the toad is pierced he screeches. 

An nair a theid na mèirlich a throd, tliig daoin' ionraic 
gu 'n cuid. 

When thieves fall out, honest men come to their oivn. 

When thieves reckon, leal folk come to their gear.— Scoi., Eng. 

Wanneer dieven kijven bekomen, vrome lieclen hare goederen. 
— Butch. Naar Tyvene tristtes, faaer Bonden sine Koster. — Dan. 

Les larrous s'entrebattent, et les larcins se deconvrent. — Fr. 

Pelean los ladrones, y descubrense los hurtos. — Span. 

An uair a theid thus' air d' each mor, tlieid thu thairis 

When you mount your high horse, you'll tumhle over. 
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps its self, 
And falls on the other. — Macbeth. 

An uair a theirigeas gacli meas, 's math na mucagan. 
When all fruit is done, hips are good. 

An uair a theirigeas gual sguiridh obair. 
When coal is do7ie vjorJc ceases. 

The work referred to is the smith's, the coal a kind of charcoal 
or coke, called eala-ghual, which used to be made of peat. 

An uair 'thig an Samhradh, togaidh sinn tigh : thig an 
Samhra.dh, 's cha tog tigh no tigh, — 's f hearr a bhi muigh 
na 'lihi 's tigh. 

When Si'/mmer comes, vje'll huild a house ; Summer 
Coynes, and house or no house, it's better to be out thaii in. 

An uair a thig air duine, thig air uile. 
When anything comes on a man, everything comes, 
Al. An uair a thig aon ni, thig gach aon ni. 
Misfortunes seldom come alone. It never rains but it pours. — 
Eng. Ill comes upon waur'.s back. — Scot. 
Een ongeluk komt zelden alleen. — rDutch. 
Malheur ne vient jamais seul. — Fr. 
Le disgrazie non vengou mai sole. — Ital. 
Adonde vas, mal ? Adonde mas hay. — S2Mn. 

An uair a thig an latha thig comhairle. 
With da,y counsel loill come. 
Tra hig y laa hig eh choyrle lesh. — Mcmx. 
'Ei/ vvKTi [i'iv\rj. — Gr. La nuit porte conseil. — Fr. 
La notte è la madre di pensieri. — Ital. 
Dormireis sobre eUo, y tomareis acuerdo.— /Span. 


G(uter Eath kommt iiber Nacht. — Germ. 
Take counsel of your pillow. — lÌ7>g. 

An uair a tliig tionndadh na li-aimsir, tillidh gach ian 
ri 'ealtuinn. 

Whe7i the change of season comes, each hircl returns to 
his flock. 

An uair a threigeas na dùthchasaicli He, beannachd 
le sith Alba ! 

When the natives forsake Islay, farewell the peace of 
Scotland ! 

The population of Islay has decreased much by emic^ration, 
but it is to be hoped the peace of Scotland is safe notwithstanding. 

An uair a thubhas e 'cheann tubhaidb e 'thigh. 
When he thatches his head, he will thatch his house. 

An uaisle 'g a cumail suas a dh-aindeoin. 

Keeping up gentility in spite of everything. 

A man down on his back, after a wrestle with a 'Tannasg,' 
was asked by the spectre, ' if this was the worst plight he ever 
was io-V ' Not at all,' said he. ' What then ? ' said the ghost. 
'An càs is cruaidhe anns an robh mise riamh, an uair a bha mi 
eadar an fheile agus an ainibeairt, agus a cumail na h-uaisle suas 
a dh-aindeoin,— The worst plight I ever was in, was when I was 
between Hospitality and Want, and keeping iip gentility in spite 
of all '. ' That was hard work,' said the ghost, ' but get up,, 
you'll never encounter these two again ' ; and so let him go. 

The conflict between Hospitality and Want is prettily illus- 
trated in one of Fingal's questions to the daughter of King 
Cormac. ' What is hotter than fire ? ' said F. ' A good man's 
cheek,' said the lady, 'to whom visitors come, and no food to give 
tliem — gnùis dhuine mhath do 'n tig aoidhean, gun bhiadh aige 
dhaibh '. Fingal's gTeatest strait w^s when he was between Want 
and Denial, ' eadar an t-euradh 'us aimbeairt,' q.v. 

Anmoch gu loch, moch gu amhainn, 's mu niheadh- 
on latha na h-uillt. 

Late to the loch, early to the river, and about noon to the 

This is an angler's advice. 

Ann am mullach nam meall. 
At the top of the heights. 
At the height of passion. 

Ann an coileach an t-sruth. In the eddy of the stream. 
Applied to persons in extreme difficulty. 


Aon a dh'iarras 's a dbà dhiag a dh olas, no pathadh 
na caorach. 

One asking and twelve drinking, or the sheep s thirst. 

Aon blio a bhristeas an gàradh, 's a dhà dhiag a 

One coio breaks the dyke, and a dozen leap it. 

Aon mliac caillich, 's aon mhart muilleir. 

An old woinans only son, and a miller s one coiv. 

Aon mliacan na truaighe, is dualach gu 'n teid e 'dliol- 

The unfortunate little only son, 'tis natural for him to 
go to the dogs. 

Aon nighean caillich, aon ian teallaieh. 

The old vnfe's only doAighter, the one hearth-chicken. 

Aontachadli bradaig le briagaig, 's aontachadh briagain 
le braidein. 

The thief s assent to the liar, and the liars to the thief. 

Al. Ceist bradaig air briagaig. 

Ask Jock Thief gif I be a leear. — Scot. 

Domanda al mio caro se sono ladro. — It. 

Ar tigh tubhta, 's ar talla tàirngte. 

Our house thatched, and our hall nailed. 

All ready for occupation. 

Aran 'us uibhean tioram, culaidh 'mharbhaidh ]\Ihic- 
Samhain ; Am fear a's matìi le 'mhnaoi e 'bhi diombuan, 
chaoidh cha dual da 'bhi fallain. 

Dry bread and eggs uiould be the death of a savage ; He 
whose vnfe vjishes him short life cant be in good health. 

This refers to one of the Highland notions about certain food 
which are often fanciful. See ' Ubh gun im '. An English say- 
ing. ' After an egg drink as much as after an ox,' is to the samn 
effect. ' Mac-Samhain ' is the name for a kind of mytliical 

Ardan na poite bige, cha tig e seach an luath. 

Tiie pride of the little fot vwn't go beyond the ashes. 

Al. Onfhadh na poite I)ige. 

As a' choire anns an teine. 

Out of the kettle into the fire. 

As an dris anns an droigheann. 

Out of the briers into the thorns. 


As an teine do'n ghriosaich. 

Out of the fire into the emhers. 

'Elf rò TTvp ÌK Tov KOTTvov. — LucioAi. De fumo in flammam. — Led. 
Cader clalla padella nelle bragie. — Ital. 
Andar de zocos en colodros. — Bjian. 
Fugir do fumo, e cahir no fogo. — Port. 
Sauter de la poele siir la braise. — Fr. 
Out of the frying-pan into the fa:%.—Eng. 

At a' bhuinn-duibh, agus bàs an aon mhic. 

The stoelling of the heel, cmd the death of the only son. 

Said by a Lewis woman who suffered under both pains at 
once. " Losgadh buinn-duibh losgadh gu cnàimh," is another 
saying expressive of the agony caused by a sore heel. 

i\.tach seann seòladair, an t-atach a's miosa 'th'ann. 
An old sailor's east-off things, tvorst of all cast-offs. 
This is equally applicable to an old sailor's garments or his 
used-up craft. ' Atach ' = Ath-aodach. 

Athair na Dilinn ! 

Father of the Flood ! 

An interjection not unnatm-al in a rainy climate. 

Atliais an darna cuir air a' char eile. 

The reproach of the one twist against the other. 

Al. ' An darna curra,' the one heron, &c. 

Athghearr an fhidhleir dlmibh o'n taobh tnath. 

TJie black fiddlers short cut from the north. 

A round-about way. Al. Aithghearr an tàilleir dhuibh do 
Ghleann Cuaich, mu'n cuairt an saoghal — The black tailor's 
short cut to Glen Quoich— round the workl 

Bagair 's na buail. Threaten and strike not. 
There is something of the Bombastes character in this advice, 
but its discretion cannot be denied. 

Baile Dhuthaich bliòidheach, 's Dornach na gorta, 
Sgiobal nan ùbhlan, 's Bil an arain choirc, 
Euraboll nan adagan, Dunrobain a' chàil, 
Goillspidh nan sligean dublia, 'us Druim-uidh an 

Bonnie Tain, and hunfiry Dornoch, 
Skihofor apples, and Beil for oat caJtes. 
Eribol for haddocks, Ditnrolin for kail, 
Golspie for black shells, Drunitde for brine. 
All these places, with the exception of Tain, are on the coast 
of Sutherlandshire. 

B'ainmig leis a' chirc aghartan a bhi aice. 
It is not couuiionfor hens to have pilloivs. 
Applied to persons affecting luxuries unsuitable to them. 
Balach 'us balgaire tighearna, 

Dithis nach bu choir leigeil leo, 
Buail am balach air a' charbad, 

'S buail am balgaire 's an t-sròin. 
A laird' s flunkey and his dog, 

These are tico one shoidd not spare ; 
Slap the flunkey on the cheek. 
Hit the hound upon the nose. 
This verse is said to have been composed by John Morrison of 
Bragar in Lewis, who '^ lived during the latter half of the 17th 
century, and was held in high repi;te for his administrative talent 
and ready wit. Having eome on one occasion to Seaforth Lodge 
at Stornoway, to explain his refusal to pay an overcliarge made by 
the factor, he was assailed at the door by a big dog, which barked 
furiously at him. Morrison hit him on the nose with his stick, 
and sent him away howling. Next came out a ilunkey, who ad- 
droesed himself to Morrison in no polite terms, and got in reply a 
good whack on the jaw. More noise followed, Mdiich at last 
brought out Seaforth himself. Morrison explained the whole 


tiling to the laird's satisfaction, and finished his story, it is said, 
with the above verse. For an account of him and his family, see 
Captain Thomas's ' Traditions of the Morrisons,' Proc. of Scot. 
Soc. of Ant., Vol. XII., pp. 526-531. 

B' àluinn a' ghnùis, na 'm b' iùlmhor am bèus. 
The face ivere lovely were the 'haviour good. 
B'ainliuil mur b't'hior. 
Probable if it vjere not true. 

This resembles, but wants the point of ' Se non è vero è ben 
trovato '. 

Bàs an fhithich ort! The raven's death to you! 

This is much the same as ' Droch bhàs ort ! ' — a very com- 
mon phrase. It was a popular belief among the Gael that the 
young raven kills the old one. Not less emphatic is ' Bàs gun 
sagart ort ! ' — Death without priest to you ! 

Bata 's treasa na'n cuaille, gille's uaisle na 'mhaighstir. 

Cane stronger than club, servant finer than master, 

Bàthadh mor aig oirthir. 

A great drowning near the land. 

Margr druknar noerri landi. — Iceland. 

Bàthaidli uisge tetli teine. 

Hot vKiter will quench f re. 

Foul water will sloken fixe. — Bcot. 

Bàthaidh toll beag long mlior. 

A little hole will sink a big shij). 

B'e sin a bhi 'cur iomchoir' 'an deaghaidh Chaluim. 

Tlmt were blaming Malcolm after he's away. 

B'e sin a bhi cur na caora air theadhair làmh ri tigh a' 

That were tethering the sheep near the thief's house. 
B'e sin a bhi 'del eadar a' chraobh 's a rùsg. 
That ivere to go between the tree and its hark. 
II ne faut mettre le doigt entre I'arbre et l'ècorce.— i'V. 

B'e sin a bhi 'taladh seangain air crios. 
That ivere hushing an ant to sleep on a girdle. 
Trying to do an absurd thing. Somewhat to the some effect is 
' Cala seangain air crios,' An ant's harbour on a girdle, 

B'e sin a' chearc a' gairm roimh 'n choileach. 

That were the hen crowing before the cock. 

Triste es la casa, doude la gallina canta, y el gallo calla. — Span. 


B'e sin ainnieacbadh bà air buacliaille, 's a toirt uaithe 

That vjcre to name a coio on a herd, and taJce her from 
him at evening. 

It was usual, and still is, to allot one of the cows of a herd to 
the cow-herd for his own supply of milk. 

B'e sin am mam air miiin an t-saic. 

That were the heap above the sack. 

B'e sin an da latha. 

Thai were the change of days. 

It is common to hear ' S ann air a thàinig an da latha '' said of 
a person who has suffered a change of circumstances. See ' Cha 
robh duine gun da latha '. 

B'e sin an diar 'g a iarraidh air a' chat, 's e fliein 's an 
dian mhiamhail. 

TJia.t vjcre asking a drop from the cat, and. tlie cai 
meiciiig clamor 0T.isly. 

B'e sin an diol dubh air a' gbruth gheaL 

Tliat were the black usage of the wlvite curds. 

Unnatural treatment of a thing or person. 

B'e sin an ealain gun ratb. 

Tliat was the skill without luck. 

Many of the proverbs inculcate the dangerous doctrine that 
luck is better than skill or effort. There is a story about two car- 
penters, who got their choice from a certain witch or ' glaistig ' 
between ' ealain gun rath ' and ' rath gun ealain '. The one chose 
the former, became a perfect artificer, and yet never prospered. 
The other chose the latter, never rose above being a botcher, and 
yet ' got on ' in the world. So much for luck ! See a story of 
the same sort in Campbell's W. H. T,, II. 8G, where ' rath ' is 
mistaken for ' ràdh ' — ' speech '. 

B'e sin an gille 'cbur 'an àit' an duin'-uasaiL 
Putting the servant in idace of the gentleman. 
B'e sin an gràdb luath 's am fuath clis. 
Tha.t was the hasty love and the cpiick hate. 
Al. cha tug gaol luath nach tug fuath cHs. 
Soon hot, soon cold. — Eiigl. 

B'e sin an reul 's an oidbche dboilleir. 
That ivas the star in the dark night. 
Al. B'e sin an rionnaig 's an oidhche fhrasaich. Often said 
ironically of a pretentious person. 


B'e sin an salann 'g a chur 's a' mhuir. 

Putting salt into the sea. 
Bwrw heli yn y mòr. — Welsh. 

B'e sin fiodh a chur do Lochabar. 
That were sending wood to Lochaber. 

B' e sin im a chur do thigh àirich. 

That were sending butter to a dairyman's house. 

Sending owls to Athens. — Gr. Sending pines to Norway. — 
Dan. Carrying coaLs to Newcastle. — Engl. Ca'in saut to Dysart, 
and puddin's to Tranent. — Scot. Taking blades to Damascus — 
Arab. Pepper to Hindostan. — Pers. Cockles to St. Michel— i^'r. 

B'e sin an seangan a' toirt greim' a gearran. 
That were the ant biting the gelding. 

B'e sin an tuagh a thoirt a làimh an t-saoir. 

That were to take the axe out of the carpenters hand. 

B'e sin buille 's a' cheann 'us seachainn am muineaL 
That were hitting the head, and avoiding the neck. 

B'e sin cead iarraidh òrd a bhualadh air bàirnich. 

That ivere asking leave to lift a limpet. 

Literally, ' to strike a hammer on a limpet '. Limpets, which 
are much used as bait in the Highlands and Islands, are naturally 
considered free to all mankind. The tool used lor detaching them 
is called ' òrd-bàirnich,' though generally it is a chisel rather than 
a hammer. A huge block of trap, which has slipped from the 
face of a cliff in one of the islands of Loch Bracadale in Skye, is 
called ' Ord-bàirnich Fhinn,' Fingal's limpet-hammer. 

B'e sin faire 'chlamhain air na cearcan. 
That were the kite's tvatch over the heros. 
Such protection as vultures give to lambs. — Pizarro. 

B'e sin greim de 'n easgainn air a h-eàrr. 
That were taking the eel by the tail. 

B'e sin " Ho ! " fada bho'n chrodh. 
That ivere a call far from the cows. 
Out of place, or before the time. 

B'e sin iasad an Deamhain do 'n mhuileann. 
TJiat were the Devil's loan to the mill. 
Bleùd an Diaoul — the Devil's meal. — Breton. 
There are proverbs of various nations, implying a disbelief in 
the honesty of millers, and this seems to be one of them. 


B'e sin latha 'thogail do shaic, 's cha b' ann do 'n 

TJmt was the day for lifting your sacks, hut not to ths 

This refers either to a creach, or " lifting " of property against 
the owner's will, or to a flitting. 

B'e sin marag earbsa ris a' chù dhubh. 

That ivere trusting a piidding to the black dog. 

B'e sin na smiaran-dubha 's an rhaoilleach. 
TJiat were the hramhle-herrics in Fchricary. 
Said of anything out of season. 

B'e sin saoradh air ceann a' choin bhradaich. 
TJiat ivere cdisolving the thievish dog. 

B'e sin urras gun earras, mise 'dhol 'an urras ortsa. 
That were the security ivithoiit substance, ivere I to 
warrant thee. 

Beag agiis beag eisg so, ach tuilleadh agus tuilleadh 
as an t-seilbh chiadna. 

Little fish this, but there s more and more in the same 

Said when one gets a small fish to begin with. Somewhat 
similar is, ' Fuil air iasg ! mharbh mi sgioUag '. 

Beag àidh ort ! 
Small luck to you ! 
Al. Beagan pisich. 

Bean a tigh-mor 'us bo a baile, cha fhreagair an duine 

A wife from the big house, and a coio from a farm, 
wont suit the poor man. 

The wife accustomed to the style of a gentleman's house 
might probably be ill to please in a poor thatched cottage ; and a 
tine Ayrshire cow would be more difficult to keep than a hardy 
Highland one. 

. Bean fhada, chaol, dhireach, miann DhònuiU amadain. 

Tlie fool Donald's fancy, a tcdl, slender, straight 

Probably the fancy of the A^ase man who invented this saying 
was a stout, strong, and what is called in the Lowlands a ' wise- 
like ' woman. 


Bean 'g a bhuain, dall 'g a mheangadh, ciiraiclli 'g a 
shniomh ; 's figli an reamhar air a' chaol, ma 's math leat 
an taod a bhi buan. 

A woman to pluck it, a blind man to lop it, a strong man 
to twist it; and imave the thick on the thin, if you %vish 
your rope to last. 

This refers to the making of a rope of birch or willow twigs. A 
woman would choose nice twigs, and a blind man would use his 
knife cautiously. 

Bean 'g a thre'igsinn, 'iis stiùir 'g a dhiùltadh. 

Wife forsaking him, and helm disobeying. 

A very sad predicament. 

Bean ruadh dhnbh-shuileach, cù lachdunn las-shnil- 
eacli, fear an f built dbuibh 's na fiasaige ruaidhe, — na tri 
còmblaicbean a 's mios' air bitb. 

A red-haired black-eyed ivoman, a dun fiery -eyed dog, a 
black-haired red-bearded man, — the three unlucJdest to 

Another Gaelic saving aboiit the red beard and the black 
head is, 'Feara'chinn duibh 's na fiasaige ruaidhe, co'thuig riamh 
a nàdur 1 ' Still more emj^hatic are ' Fear a' chinn duibh, &c., na 
teirig eadar e 's a chreag,' and the old English rhyme, 
A red beard and a black head, 
Catch him with a good trick and take him dead. 

Beannachd a sbaoid 's a sbiubbail leis ! bitheadh e 
'nochd far an robb e 'n raoir. 

The blessing of his state and his journey be with him ! 
Let him be to-night where he was last night. 

This is like an Oriental expression of hospitality. 

Beannachd Chaluim ghobha — 'mo thogair ged nach 
till '. 

Smith 3falcolm's blessing — Tcare not if he come not back. 

Beannachd dhiit fbein, ach mollachd do d' oid'-ionns- 
achaidh ! 

Blessing to thyself, but a curse on thy teacher! 

Beannachd 'n an siubhal 's 'n an imeachd ! 'S c 'n 
diugh Dihaoine, cha chluinn iad sinne. 

Blessing on their going and icay! This is Friday, they 
wont hear us. 

A charm against Fairies. Friday was the day on which they 
were believed to visit Fairyland, 


Beatha Chon'aiii 'am measg nan deamhan : Ma 's olc 
dhomh clia 'n fhearr dhaibh. 

Conans life among the demons: If bad for me, for 
them no better. 

Conan is one of the principal characters celebrated in the 
Fenian Legends, and the only disagreeable one. He is called 
' aimlisg na Fèinne,' the mischief of the Fenians, and is described 
as rash, quarrelsome, and meddlesome. He visited Ifriun (Hell) 
in search of some of his departed friends, and gave as good as he 
got there to the fiends. Sir Walter Scott picked rrp this story, 
and made use of it in Waverley, where Mrs. Flockhart asks, "And 
will ye face thae tearing chields, the dragoons, Ensign Mac- 
combich ? " " Claw for claw, as Conan said to Satan, Mrs. 
Flockhart, and the deevil tak' the shortest nails." 

"Is olc do- bheatha 'Chonain!" is another saying in reference 
to this legend. 

Beathaich thusa mis' an diugh, 'us beathaichidh mis' 
thus' am màireach. 

Feed tJioit me to-day, and Til feed thee to-morrow. 

Beinn Nibheis mhor a' glaodliaicli 'n a laidhe-siùblila, 
's clia d'thàinig aisde ach an luchag flieòir. 

Great Ben JSfevis crying in travail, and nothing came 
of it hut a field-mouse. 

This, no doubt, is a mere version of " Parturiunt montes," but 
it has the merit of local colouring. 

Beiridli am beag trie air a' mhor ainmig. 
The little quick ivill overtake the big sloic. 

Beiridh bean mac, ach 's e Dia a ni an t-oighre. 
A tvoman may hear a son, hut God makes the keir. 
Haeredem Deus facit, non homo. — Coke. 

Beiridh tu air a bhi gu math 'n uair a thig d' f hiasag. 
Yo7i ivill he a good, one by the time your beard grows. 
Said ironically to forward young people. 
Beò' bochd gun airgead, mar a bha'n t-Albannach 

Foor living without money, as the Scot of old had. 

Beus na tuath far am bitear is e a nitear. 

Tiie manners of the folk one lives among vnll he fol- 

Thy neighbour is thy teacher. Live with him who pravs, and 
thou pray est. Live with the singer, and thou singest. — Arab. 


He who herds with the wolves will howl.— Fr., Ital, Span., 
Germ., Dan. 

When you are at Rome, do as Rome does. — Eng. 

B' fhada bho 'cheile crodh laoidh an da sheanar. 
Far apart were the milk-coias of their grandfathers. 
Said ot Yjersoiis whose ancestors were far removed from each 
other in place or position ; e.g. , marrying out of one's sphere. 

B' f liaid a 'bhitheadh donas a droch-nihnaoi na bhitli- 
inn-sa 'deanamh sin. 

A shrew s ill nature loould he longer out of her than 
1 wonld he about that. 

In other words, I should do it " in no time ". 

B' f hasa Eoghan a chur air each. 

'Tivere easier to put Ewen on horsehach 

In A. Campbell's note on this, he says it alludes to M'Neill of 
Barra, but that is doubtful. Macintosh, in his note on another 
proverb. ' Cha '"n ann a' h-uile la a theid MacNèiU air each,' says, 
" There is an ingenious sarcastical description of setting MacNeil 
on hofseback, in Gaelic, in my hands, setting forth the grandeur, 
antiquity, and valour of MacNeil of Barra." A version of that 
curious composition, got in 1859 from the recitation of a man in 
Blair Athol, is given in Mr. J. F. Campbell's Leabhar na Feinne, 
pp. 210, 211. After an elaborate description of the dressing and 
arming of Ewen, the extraordinary virtues of his steed, and the 
splendour of his harness, the ignominious fiasco is thus briefly 
told — ' 'S chaidh e trj uaii'ean tiomchioll an òtraich, 's ghabh e 
eagal nior, 's phill e.' — He went three times round the dunghill, 
took a great fright, and returned ! 

Another version, called ' Cliù Eobhain,' curiously differing 
from the above, is given by Mr. D. C. Macpherson in the Gael, 
Vol. IV,, pp. 112, 113. It was copied from a MS. in the Irish 
character, apparently about a century old. 

B' f hearr a bhi gun bhreith na 'bhi gun teagasg. 

Better unhorn than untaught. 

The English is that of Heywood, given in Hazlitt's EugHsh 
Proverbs, with this old rhyme — 

A chyld were better to be unbore, 
Than to be untaught, and so be lore. 

B' f hearr a bhi gun fhàinne na fàinne luachrach. 
Better 7io ring than a rush ring. 
This proverb is both English and Scotch. 

B' fhearr a bhi sàmhach na droch dhàn a ghabhail. 

Better he silent than sing a had song. 

Macintosh translates the three last words, ' receive an aflfront '. 


B' f hearr a' chreach a thighinn do 'n tìr, na maduinn 
mhìn 's an Fhaoilleach fhuar. 

Better foray corning to the land than mild morning 
in the cold inonth of storms. 

Share craght ve sy cheer, na mee ny maiinan (inwnth of kids) 
cheet stiagh meein. — Manx. 

The Faoilleach, or Faoillteach, was the name gwen to the 
time of year nearly corresponding to the present month of 
February, usually a time of storms and cold. Mild weather at 
this time was and is regarded as unseasonable, and not to be 
desired. Some other proverbs to the same effect as the above ^vill 
be found further on. See 'Faoilleach'. Of old English and 
Scottish ones are the following : — 
February fill the dike, 
Either ^^ith the black or white, 
But if it be white it's the better to like. 
The hind had as lief see his wife on the bier, 
As that Candlemas Day should be pleasant and clear. 
A' the months o' the year 
Curse a fair Februeer. 

B' f hearr a leth an de, na gu lèir an dmgh. 
Better the half yesterday than the ichole to-day. 

'OfceTat xo-pi^Tes ykvKvrepai. — Gr. Anth. 

Bis dat qui cito dat. — Lat. 

The best generosity is the quick. — Arab. 

One to-day is worth two to-morrow. — Eng. 

En Skilling er i Tide saa god som en Daler. — Dan. 

E meglio aver oggi un novo che domani una gallina. — Ital. 

Mas vale iin ' toma' que dos ' te dare '. — (S)ja?i. 

B' f hearr cumail a muigh na cur a mach. 
Better keep out than put out. 

B' f hearr dha bonnach 'us toll 'am bruicheadh e e. 
Better for him were a cake and a hole to lake it in. 
' Than think of such a thing ' is understood. 

B' fhearr do Mhac-DliònuiU còmlidach a blii aige dha 

Better were it for MacDonald to have as much as tvould 
cover himself. 

I have not been able to ascertain the origin of this saying. 

B' fhearr gun toiseachadh na sgur gun chrioch- 

Better not begin than stop without finishing. 


B' fheari- leam 'fhaicinn na 'cliluinntinn. 

/ would rather sec it than hear it. 

Seeing is believing. — Arab., Eng., Scot. 

Chi con r occhio vede, col cuor crede.—Ital. 

Die Augen glauben sich. selbst, die Ohren andern Lenten. — Gerra. 

Hooren zeggen is half gelogen. — Dutch. 

B' f hearr siiidhe làmh ri fear-cuthaicli na làmli ri fear- 

Better sit next a madman than next a nahed man. 

' Naked ' here means needy. It may be intended to signify 
that a destitute man is apt to be dangerous, as another proverb 
indicates, •' 'S ionaun fear na 'eigin 's fear a' chuthaich,' and the 
Latiii, ' Esurienti ne occurras '. 

B' iliialaidh an coileach mu cliuid an eich. 
The cock was very hountifid with the horses corn. 
Ai. Fialachd mhath mu chuid chàich. 
Hens are free of horse corn. — Scot. 

Bha " beir 's cha bheir " aige. 

It teas " catch and won't catch " vnth him. 

Said of one Avho just misses, or all but misses a thing. 

Bha caochladh clòimlie 'n clò Chaluim. 
There vjere various wools in Malcolm's cloth. 
Said of persons whose character or works are inconsistent or 

Bha dorus Fhinn do 'n ànrach fial. 
FingaVs door was free to the needy. 

In the ballad called ' Urnuigh Oisein ' [Leabliar na Feinne, pp. 
41-46, Gael, I. 83), consisting of a dialogue between Ossian and 
St, Patrick, Patrick says — 

Ge beag a' chuil chrònanach, 

'Us mùnaran na greine, 
Gun fhios do 'n Righ mhòralach, 
Cha teid f ho bliil' a sgeithe. 

Small as is the humming gnat, 

And the mote in sunbeam, 
Unknown to the majestic King, 
They pass not 'neath his wing. 
To this Ossian replies — 

'N saoil thu 'm b' ionann e 's Mac Cumhail, 

An righ 'bh' againn air na Fiannaibh ; 
Dh' f haodadh gach neach 'bha air thalamb 
Teachd 'n a thalla-san gun iarraidh. 


Think'st thnii then to equal him 

To oiir KiiiL,^, the son of Cliai ? 
All the worhl mÌLjht enter in 

To his hall unbidden. 

Bha e 'n a dhlùth 's 'n a iuneach air. 
He was both waiy and woof to it. 
He was the body and soul of the thing. 

' Dliith glic agus inneach gòrach ' is said of a person whO' 
seems foolish, but is really wise. 

Bha gnothuichean mor an Aoraisge. 

There were great doings at Uriskei/. 

Eriskey is a small island in Loch Crerar. The story goes, 
that the Avife of the laird of Airds (long ago) kept a paramour on 
this island, whom she treated luxuriously. The family fool got 
A\-ind of it, and went on repeating, " Great doings at Eriskey," 
till his master inquired into the matter. 

Bha iasad a ghabhail 's a thoirt, riamh air feadh an 

Borroioing and lending were always in fashion. 

Bha la eile aig fear na bracha. 

The maltman had other days 

Said of people in reduced circumstances. See ' Bu la eile.' 

Bha la eile ann. 

TJiere ivas a different day. 

Al. Bha la dha sin, or, Bha 'n la sin ann, phrases generally used 
by old people, recalling the days when they could perform feats 
to be done no more. 

Bha mis' 'an ceardaich gobha roimh so, 

I have heen in a smithy before now. 

The allusion is probably to the common practice of testing 
men's strength and agility, in a smithy, with the big hammer, and 
the meaning is something equivalent to "I am no greenhorn". 

Bha 'n t-àm ann. 
It was high time. 

Bha sineadh saoghail aige. 
He had a new lease of life. 

Bha 'n uair 'g a ruith. 
His hour ivas pursuing him. 

There is something impressive in the picture this suggests, of 
a man pursued by the ' shadow feared of man '. 


Bha rad-eigin de dh' uisge far 'na bhàthadh an gamh- 

There's aye some vmter whaur the stirkie droons. — Scot. 

Bha sid 'an dan da. 

That was fated for him. 

Bha thii 'd' shlàint' an uair a chaidh do chòta 

You were in good health when your coat was made. 

Said to one whose coat is too wide. 

Bheir a h-uile Didòmhnuich seaclidain leis. 

Every Sunday brings a week with it. 

Bheir aon duine triùir bhàrr an ratliaid. 

One man will lead three off the road. 

Bheir aon fhear each gn uisge, ach cha toir da f hear 
dhiag air 'òl. 

One man may lead a horse to water, hut twelve won't 
make hiin drink. 

A man may lead a horse to the water, but four-and-twenty 
winna gar him drink. — Scot. 

Bheir duine beath' air eigin, ach cha toir e rath air 

A man may force a livelihood, hut cannot force fortune. 

Here again appears the belief in Fate, as a power superior to 
human will. 

Bheir ao-dòchas misneach do ghealtair. 
Desperation drives on cowards. 

Put a coward to his metal, and he'll fight the DeW.—Scot. 
A man who would like to run away sometimes fights like a 
lion when escape is impossible. 

Bheir duine glic breith-bliadhna air fear na h-aon 

A wise man will from one night's knowledge judge 
another for a year. 

He can judge in a night from a man's conversation and 
manners, as much as a person less sagacious could do in a year. 

Bheir fear na moch-eirigh buaidh air fear na fionn- 

Tiie early riser will heat the late watcher. 

Bheir foid a bhreith 's a bhàis fear gu 'ait' air eigin. 

No man can avoid the spot, where hirtJi or death is his lot. 


Blieir mis' ort nach òl thu bainne bhàrr spàin. 

I'll make you so that you, cant drink milk front a spoon. 

This forcible form of threat comes from the Hebrides. 

Bheir na daoine beaga rud as an speur clio luath ris 
iia daoine mora. 

Little people will bring things from the sky as soon as 
hig ones. 

A hint to big people that they need not aim at things too 
high even for them. A similar saying is, ' Thoir thusa rionnag 
as an speur, 's bheir mise nuas t' eile '. — Bring you a star dovni 
from the sky, and I'll bring another. 

Bheir sin an teang'as a' chlag. 

That will take the tongue out of the hell, 

Bheireadh e mac-tall' as na creagan. 

He would make the rocks re-echo. 

Said of a loud-voiced person. 

Bheireadh e sniomh air cridhe na cloiche. 

It would ivrench the heart of a stone. 

Bheireadh seillein math mil a sin. 

A good bee could get honey out of that. 

Bheireadh tu cho fad' a' gieusadh do phioba 's a bheir- 
eadh fear eil' a' cluich puirt. 

You ivotdd take as long to tune your p)ipc as another 
would to play a tune. 

Ye're as lang tuning yir pipes as anither wad play a spring. — )icoi. 

Bheirear comhairle seachad, ach cha toirear giùlan. 

Counsel can be given, but not conduct. 

Bheirinu cuid oidhche dha ged a bhiodh ceann fir fo 

/ icould give him a night's quarters, though he had, a 
mans head under his arm. 

Nothing could be more expressive than this of the Highland 
virtues of hospitality and clannishness in excess. 

Bheirinn m'f halt a mach Diordaoin, 
'S dheanainn m'inean maol Diluain ; 
'S shiùbhlainn 'an sin bho chuan gu cuan. 

I luould cut my hair on Tliursday. 

And pare my nails on Monday ; 

Then I'd sail from sea to sea. 
Friday being an unlucky day, a man going on a voyage, for 


whicli Paturday or Sunday would be preferred, would get his linir 
cut on Thursday. Why Monday should be preferred for paring 
nails it is hard to see, except that doing it on Sunday was unlucky. 

'Bhi 'fadadh teine fa loch, 

Bhi tiormachadh cloich 'an cuan, 
Comhaiiie 'thoirt air mnaoi bhuhb, 
Màv bhiiiir ùird air iarann fuar. 
As kindling ajire on a loch, 

As drying a stone in the ocean. 
Like stroke of hammer on cold iron, 
Is counsel to a shrewish woman. 
An Irish version of this is slightly different : — 
Coigilt teine le loch, 
No cathamh cloch le cuan, 
Comhairle thabhairt do mnaoi bhoirb, 
No buille de rihe air iarran fuar. 

Bourke's Ir. Gram.., p. 279. 
This verse was given as part of a song picked up in S. Uist by 
Mr. Carmichael, which appeared in the Nether Lochaber column- 
of the Inverness Courier. It has also been ascribed, but without 
sufficient warrant, to John Morrison of Bragar. He may have 
said it to his wife, but it does not follow that he composed it. 

'Bhi umhal d'a thighearna, 's e dligh' an òglaich. 
To obey his master is the servant's duty. 

Bhiodh sonas aig an. stròghaire, na 'm faigheadh mar 
a sgapadh e. 

The speiulthrift were happy, could he get as he scatters. 

Bho bhrògan àrd gu brògan ìosal, 's bho bhrògan ìosal 
gu breabanan. 

From high shoes to low shoes, ajid from, low shoes to 

Bho'n a rinn mi 'n òirleach, ni mi 'n reis. 

As I have made the inch, I'll make the span. 

Tra tou jannoo yn trie (troidh), jean yn oarlagh.— il/tmx. 

Gi'e ye an inch, and ye'll tak a span.— Sco(. 

Give him an inch, and he'll take an ell. — Engl. 

Bho'n is e 's ni do Chlann Nèill na dòirneagan, gabh- 
adh iad do'n ionnsuidh. 

Since the property of the 3IacNeills consists of pebbles, 
let them take to them. 

Probably said on the occasion, of a fight between the M'Neills 


and some other clan. The beach at Castle Bay, in Barra, where 
the chief resided, abounds in sea-worn stones, piled up by the 
Atlantic waves. 

Bho'n is tu 'mharcaich an t-eacli, criidh e. 
Since you have ridden the horse, shoe him. 

Blio'n làimh gus am bial, cuibhrionn a 's f liearr air bitli. 
From hand to 'mouth, the best of all portions. 
This saying, inconsistent with modern wisdom, but not with 
primitive Christianity, is neutralised by the following one. 

Bho'n làimli gus am bial, cha dean e duine coir am 

From hand to mouth tvill never make a loorthy 

Bho nacli banachaig mi, cha blii mi 'trod mu'ii fliiar. 
As I am not a dairymaid, I won't quarrel about the 

1 won't dispute about what is not in my province. 

Bho nach fhaodmi beantainn do'n ghiadh mhor, pronn- 
aidh mi na h-iseanan. 

As I cannot touch the big goose, I'll pound the goslings. 

If I canna kep guse, I'H kep gaislin.— Scoi. Very probably 
said first by a fool, who got bitten by a gander. — See Lover's 
Essay on Fools, in ^Legends of Ireland'. But there is much of human 
natiire in the sentiment. Even kings and statesmen have exem- 
plified it. 

Bho nach learn, cha tarruing. 
Since tt is not mine I won't draw it. 
This, if referring to a rope, is selfish. But it is susceptible of 
a better interpretation, as a caution to mind one's own business. 

Bhuail iad a ceann air an àmraidh. 

Thjiìj struck her head against the ambry. 

Said of a servant who looks like her food. "Ambry," or 
"amry," old English and Scotch for cupboard, originally " almerie," 
or place for keeping alms in. ' He has broken his face on the 
ambry,' says Kelly, ' is spoken of bluff, fat-cheek'd boys.' 

Bhuail thu 'n tarraug air a ceann. 
You have hit the nail on the head. 

Bhuain e maorach an uair a bha 'n tràigh ann. 
He gathered shell-fish while the tide was out. 
Same as making hay while the sun shone. 

Bi 'd thosd 's 'ad chuimhne. 

Be silent and mindful. 

In the story of Fingal's enchantment in the house of the Blàr 
Buidhe {Celt. Rev., Vol. I., p. 197, Gael, IV. 10), it is said of him, 
' Bha Fionn 'n a thosd 's na chuimhne,' while he was under- 
going dreadful torture. 

Bi 'd thosd 's bi 'd chomaidh. 
Be silent, and take your share. 
Ask no questions for conscience' sake. 

Bi gu subhach, geamnaidh, 
Moch-thrathach a's t-Samhradh ; 
Bi gu curraiceach, brògach, 
Brochanach 's a' Gheamhradh. 
In Summer time be cheerful, chaste, 

And early out of bed ; 
In Winter he well-capped, well-shod, 
A nd. well on porridge fed. 
Dr. John Smith, in his Qalic Antiquities, attributes the first 
half of this excellent advice to the Druids. A more probable 
opinion ascribes it to the " Ollamh Muileach," Dr. John Beaton, 
one of a family famous in the Highlands for medical skill. He 
was family physician to the MacLeans, and died in 1657, as a 
Latin inscription on his tomb in lona still bears. 

' ' Brochan " means both ' ' porridge " and ' ' gruel ". In most 
parts of the Highlands it is or was applied equally to both, while 
in some parts, such as Skye, porridge is always called " lite," and 
gruel alone " brochan ". Gruel undoubtedly is more for winter 
than for summer, while porridge is equally for all the year round. 

Bi tliusa 'bruidheann, 's bidh na h-uibhean agamsa. 
You talk away, and Fll have the eggs. 

Biadh a thoirt do'n f hearann niu 'n tig an t-acras air ; 
fois a thoirt da mu'm fas e sgith; a ghart-ghlanadh mu'm 
fas e salach, — coniharran an deagh thuathanaich. 

To feed the land before it get hungry ; to give it rest 
before it groio weary; to loeed it ivell before it get dirty — 
the marks of a good husbandman. 

Biadh-gTàineachaidh aig seana-chù. 
Food of loathing to an old dog. 
Biadh math monaidh maragan-dubha. 
Black puddings are good food for the moors. 


Bial a labhras, ach gniomli a dhearbhas. 

The mouth speaks, hut the deed proves. 

See ' Air mhèud 's a their.' 

Bial gnu fhàitheam. 

A mouth without hem. 

Al A bhial air a ghualainn. — His mouth on his sixonldcr = his 
heart on his sleeve. 

Bial-sios air na mnathan, mitr faighear 's gach ait' iad ! 

Confound the loomen, if tluy are not found everywhere ! 

Women's work is never done. — Eng. and Scot. 

The phrase ' Bial-sios ort ! ' — Down mouth to you ! probably 
means, May you be laid upside down, i.e., dead. ' Bial seachad 
ort ! ' is sometimes used instead. 

Bidh a' chuid a 's miosa aig a' bhus a 's taise. 

T/ie modest mouth gets the smallest share. 

Beidh nidh aig an sàrachan, 'n uair a bhios an nàireachan 
falamh. — Ir. 

A modest beggar's bag is empty. — Hungar. 

Bidli adhaircean fad' air a' chrodh 'tha fada uainn. 

Far off cows have long horns. 

Omne ignotum pro magnifico. — Lat. 

Al. Adhaircean fad air a' chrodh 'tha 'n Eirinn, or 'a th' 
anns a' cheò '. 

The same idea is more prettily expressed in the saying, ' Is 
gorm na cniiic tha fada uainn' ('/S'cof. and /r., — 'glas'for ' gorm,' 
Ir.), of which Campbell's beautiful lines are a paraphrase — 
'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, 
And robes the mountain in its azure hue. 

Bidh an coileach-circe 'g obair fad an latha, acb cha 
bhi ni 'n a sgròban 'am bial na h-oidhche. 

The ham-door cock works all day, but his crop is empty 
at night. 

Gallo bom nunco foi gordo — Good cock was never fat. — Port. 

Bidh an duine foghainteach beò,ged b'e 'n clobh' a choir. 

The able man ivill make a living, had he hut the tongs 
to start xoith. 

The tongs are mentioned as belonging specially to the wife's 
province, and not an implement likely to be chosen by the man. 

Bidh an iall ruighinn gn leòir gus am brist i. 

The thong is tough enough till it breaks. 

Bidh an iomchoir' 'an lorg a' challa. 
The hlame will follow the loss. 


Bidh an luaireagan-liuitha 'n a iiallachan gille. 

The child that grovels in the ashes unll be a joMnty lad. 

Bidh an osna dheireannacli cràiteach. 
The last sigh will he, grievous. 

Bidh an tubaist a'ruith nan clibistean. 
Mishap follows upon misadventure. 

Bidh an t-ubhal a's fhearr air a' mheaugan a 's àirde. 

Tlie best ajjjyle is on the highest bough. 

Die siissesten Trauben hangen am liochsten. — Germ. 

" Happy would that nation be " says Macintosh, in the Dedica- 
tion of his collection to the Earl of Buchan, " where every person 
of distingnislied rank would endeavour to distinguish himself 
still more essentially, by being beneficial to the public, and there- 
by confirm our old Gaelic saying ' Bithidh meas is fearr,' &c '' 

Bidh bean-mhuinntir aig an fheannaig a's t-Fhoghar. 

The crow has a maidservant in Autumn. 

Said of people who keep more servants than they need. 

Bidh boladh a' mhairbh de 'n làimh f halaimh. 

The empty hand will smell like the dead. 

This is one of the most emphatic sayings on the evils of poverty. 

Bidh breith luath lochdach. 
A hasty judgment will be hurtful. 
Al. Cha tug breith luath nach tug da uair. 
He v:ho judges hastily must judge twice. 
De fol juge breve sentence. — Fr. 

Bidh cas an eòin ghòraich 's an ribe. 
The silly bird's foot will go into the snare. 
Bidh cnothan aig Iain f hathasd : ' Ma bhitheas, cnag- 
adh Iain iad,' arsa Muisean. 

John will have nuts yet : If he has, let him crack them, 
said the mean dfivil. 

Bithidh e cho mor ri cnoc, 
Mu'm faic diiine f hein a lochd. 
Ere a man his fault can see, 
Big as mountain it ivill be. 
Al. Bidh cron duine cho mor ri beinn, mu'n leir dha fhein e. 

Bidh cuid an amadain 'am bial a bhuilg. 
The fool's share is in the mouth of his hag. 


Bidh Dihaoine 'an aghaidh na seachdain. 

Friday will he contra ly to the week. 

Selde is the Friday all the weke y-like. — Chaucer. 

This groundless fancy is perhaps connected with the siTpposed 
unluckiuess of Friday. 

Bidh dòra aig fear na h-eadraiginn. 

The interposer will get struek. 

Cha d-tainig fear an eadarsgàin saor a riarah. — Ir. 

Bidh dull ri fear-fairge, ach cha bhi ri fear-rdilge. 

There is hope of the man at sea, hut none of the man in 
the churchyard. 

Bidh dull ri fear-feachda, ach cha bhi ri fear-lice. 

The man of war may return, hut not the hurled man. 

At. Bidh diiil ri bial cuain, ach cha bhi ri bial uaigh. 

Biann sùil le muir, acht cha bhiann sùil le cill. — Ir. 

Bidh e geal 'n uair a thiormaicheas e, mu'n dubhairt 
an droch bhean-nighe. 

It will he white when it dries, as the had washerwoman 

Bidh fear na foille fotha. The deceitful will he clown. 

Bidh fear na h-aon bho uair gun bhainne. 

The man of one cow will sometimes loant milk. 

Bidh fònn air gille nan lùb, — 's e h-uile rud ùr a 's 

The volatile youth's desire — all that's new is hest. 

Changes are lichtsome, and fules are fond of them.— Scoi. 

Bidh gach fear a' tarruing uisge gu 'mhuileann fhèin. 

Each draws water to his own mill. 

Chacun tire 1' eau à son moulin. — B\. 

Ognun tira 1' acqua al suo molino. — It. 

Bidh gach ni mar is àill le Dia. 

All will he as God. wills. 

Bidh iteagan bòidheach air na h-eòin 'tha fad as. 

Far aw a' fowls hae fine feathers. — &cot. 

Bidh latha 'g a dhloladh, 's latha 'g a phàigheadh. 

A day will pay, and a day repay. 

Bidh meas air math 'n uair a chaillear e. 

The good is esteemed ivhen lost. 

Extinctus amabitur idem.— Hor. Bien perdu, bien connu. — Fr. 

Ben perduto è conosciuto. — It . Bien perdido y conocido.— /Sp»». 

Bidh mir a' ghiW èasgaidh air gach meis. 
The smart lad's share is on every dish. 

Bidh na gobhair bodhar a's t-Fhogbar. 
The goats are deaf in Harvest. 
Harvest ears thick of hearing.— £m^. 

Bidh nadur a' choin mhoir 's a' chuilein. 
The big dog's nature will he in the pup. 

Bidh rud aig fear na coise fliche. 

The man of loet foot will get something. 

This refers to fishing. See ' Cha dean brògan tioram'. 

Bidh rud uime nach robh mu'n chul-chàise. 
Something will come of it more than of the cheese-hach 
Three parties of the Macdonalds of Glencoe went in different 
directions on a ' Faoigh-Nollaig,' or 'gentle begging' expedition 
for the Christinas of 1543. They met by appointment at the 
Black Mount, and proceeded to divide the proceeds, when it was 
found, after everything else had been divided, that the remnant of 
a cheese was still to be disposed of. From words on the subject 
the claimants came to blows— not with fists, alas ! but \\'ith dirks ; 
and, if the story be true, only one man out of eighteen was left to 
tell the tale ! A small loch at the spot where this happened is 
still known as ' Lochan-na-fala,' the bloody tarn. — Cuairtear, 
Vol. I., p. 211. 

Bidh sannt naoinear air aon mhnaoi gun sliochd. 
A childless woman has the greed of nine. 
Al. Bidh sannt nan seachd sagart anns a mhnaoi gun laogh 
gun luran.— A childless woman has the desire of seven priests. 

Bidh sonas 'an lorg na caithimh. 
Luck follows spending. 

This is doubtful doctrine, unless in the sense of Solomon's 
proverb, ' There is that scattereth, and increaseth '. 

Bidh sùilean ghobhar aig na mnathan a' gleidheadh am 
fear dhaibh f hein. 

Wives have goats' eyes in Iceeping their husbands to them- 


Al. * Ag iarraidh fir.' Goats are very sharp-sighted. 

Bidh teine math 'an sin 'n uair a ghabhas e. 
That will be a good fire when it kindles. 
See ' An uair a lasas '. 


Bidh tu beò am bliadhna. 
You will survive this year. 
Said to a person who suddenly appears when being spoken of. 

Bidh uan diibh aig caora bhàin, 's nan ban aig caora 

A ivhite sheep may have a black lamb, and a black 
sheep a white one. 

Biodh aice an rudha a bheir i 'mach. 

Let her take the point she can clear. 

Said of a boat, and applicable to human beings. 

Biodh e dubh no odhar no donn, 's toigh leis a' ghobh- 
air a meanu. 

Be it black or dun or broivn, the goat likes her own kid. 
Every craw thinks her ain bird white. — Scot. 
Jeder Mutter Kind ist schon. — Germ. 

Biodh e reamhar no caol, 's mairg nach beathaich- 
eadh laogh dlia f hein. 

Be it fat or lean, pity the man that won't rear a calf 
for himself. 

This was said of a fairy changeling, which turned out such a 
miserable object that some one seriously proposed that it should 
be thrown into the burn. The father made the above answer. 

Biodh earalas mèirlich agad air gach neach, ach na 
dean mèirleach de neach idir. 

Be cautious with every one as if with a thief, but make 
a thief of no one. 

The doctrine of suspicion here inculcated is not to be admired. 

Biodh gach fear a' toirt sgairbh a creagan dha f hein. 

Let every man take scarts out of rocks for himself. 

Alleged to have been said by a St. Kilda man to his comrade, 
who was holding the rope above, and asked if he had secured 
birds for them both. On hearing the answer above quoted, the 
holder of the rope is said to have replied, " Let every man hold 
the rope for himself" — and let him go ! The story is probably a 
fiction. Scarts are certainly not the birds sought after by these 
bold cragsmen. 

Biodh mionach ar n-eisg aig ar n-eòin fhein. 
Oor ain fish-guts to oor ain sea-maics. — Scot. 

Blàth nan diar mu'n tig an dile. 
Tlu look of drops before the flood. 


Bò a' bhuabhaiU-thulclioinn. 

The cow of the end-stall. 

The saying in Lochaber is, ' Am mart a bliios 's a' bhuabhaill- 
thulchainn, is toigh' leath' e' — The cow in the end-stall likes it. 

The original meaning of the word 'tulchann' is simply 'gable,' 
' end,' ' stern '. The ' buabhall-thulchainn,' or end-staU was the 
innermost in the row, and was used for the accommodation 
of a cow that had lost her calf, in place of which a stuffed imita- 
tion-calf was brought in whenever she was to be milked. Hence 
came the application of the word ' tulchann ' to the imaginary 
calf, and of the term 'tulchan-bishop' to persons appointed to that 
office in Scotland after the Eeformation, simply as receivers- 
general of the temporalities, for the benefit of the baron or his 
creatures. ' The Bishop had the title, but my Lord got the milk 
or commoditie.' — Calderwood's Hist, of the Ch. of Scotland, cited in 
Jamieson's Diet. s. v. Tulchane. 

Bo mhaol 'am buaile choimhich. 
A hornless cow in a strange fold. 

Bo mhaol odhar, 's bo odhar mhaol. 

A polled dun coiv, and a dun polled cow. 

Six and half-a-dozen. 

BÒ mhor 'n a h-aon atha-grùthain. 

A hig cow all liver. 

An old woman in Lewis, living with her married son, went 
out to look at the weather on a snowy night. Her son asked her, 
when she came in, what sort of night it was. " Tha," ars ise, 
" oidhche rionnagach, reulach, gun turadh, gim ghaoith, gun uisge." 
" Seadh, gu dearbh ! " ars esan, " 's iongantach da rireadh an 
oidhch' i." " Seadh," ars ise, " ach 's iongantaiche na sin bo 
mhor a bhi 'n a h-aon atha-grùthain." Her daughter-in-law had 
been for days serving up the liver of a lately killed cow, and no- 
thing else, till the old woman could stand it no longer. A similar 
story is told, in Lochaber, of a deaf and dumb girl and her step- 
mother. The girl spoke for the first and last time on being asked 
what sort of night it was : " Tlia oidhche ghaothar, ghaothar, 's 
i gu fiathail, fiathail, i gu soilleir, soilleir, 's i gu doilleir dorcha ; 
a' ghaoth a shios 's an t-uisg' a shuas." Her stepmother said it 
was strange. " Seadh," ars ise, '' ach 's iongantaiche na sin gur 
h-ainean uil' am mart !" — Yes, but more strange is it that the cow 
is all Hver ! And she spoke never more. 

Bochd 's rud agam, bochd 's mi f alamh ; bidh mi bochd 
ri m' bheò. 

Poor when I have, poor when I haven't, poor I'll ever he. 
Boght, boght dy bràgh. — Manx. 


Bodach eadar dha cheathairne. 

An old man between two bands. 

An odd man in a game, such as shinty, who, after each leader 
has chosen his side, ,L,'ets the unenviable position of assisting the 
losing side. " Bodach leth-bhaireach " is another term of the same 

Bogha dh'iughar Easragain, 
Ite firein Locha-Treig, 
Ceir bhuidhe Bhaile-na-Gailbhinn, 
'S ceann bho'n cheard Mac Plieidearam» 
Bow from yeiv of Esragin, 

Eagle feather from Loch Treig, 
Yellow wax from Galway town, 
Arrow-head by Mae-Phederan. 
This verse, descriptive of the best kind of bow and arrows, is 
quoted by Dr. Smith in his " Sean Dana," p. 4. Esragin is on 
the N. side of Loch Etive, Loch Treig to the E. of Ben Nevis. 
The MacPhederans were celebrated smiths. 

Boid a' bhàird ris a' chaisteal, 's an caisteal 'g a thrtig- 

Tlie bard's voio to the castle, when the castle turned its 
hack on him. 

Al. Mionnan a bhàird, &c. — 'cha teid mi fhein do 'n chaisteal 
bhreun,— cha teid, cha leig iad ann mi ! — I won^t go to the vile 
castle — no they won't let me ! ' 

Boid ciaraig ris na fearaibh, 's boid nam fear ri ciaraig. 
The swarthy maid's vow against tJie men, and the men's 
VOID against her. 

Never to marry one of them ! See ' Is dubh '. 

Boinn' 'am bial na gaoithe. 

A drop in the wind's mouth, 

Al. Uisg' 'am bun an t-soirbhis — a wind prophesying rain. A 
counter-saying is, ' Cha 'n e fead a' bhainn' a th' ann,' — It is not 
the milk-whistle, i.e., the sound of the wind does not prognosti- 
cate rain, which makes the grass to grow and the milk to flow. 

Boinne snitlie 'n ceann na leapach. 
A drop from the roof at the bed-head. 
One of the ideals of discomfort. 

Bonnach a mhealladh cloinne — oir thiiigh 'us cridhe 

A cake to cozen children — thick edqe and thin heart. 


Bonnach air bois, cha bhruich 's cha loisg. 

A cake on the pahn won't toast or hum. 

B'olc an airidh gu'n deanadh an turadh dolaidh. 

'Twere a inty that dry vjeather should do harm. 

It's a pity fair weather should e'er do harm — Scot. 

Breac a linne, slat a coille, 's fiadh a fireach, — mèirle 
nach do ghabh duine riamh ilàir' aisde. 

A fish from the pool, a ivand from the wood, a deer 
from the mountain — thefts no man ever was ashamed of. 

Al. Slat a coille, fiadh a doire, breac a buinne— tri rudan as 
nach do ghabh Gaidheal nàire riamh. 

The free doctrine of this old saying is still held in the High- 
lands, but there is very little poaching, notwithstanding. 

Breunan 'us Fudaidh 'an cuideachd a cheile. 

Dirty and RuhMshy going together. 

A Lewis proverb, taken from a verse by John Morrison of 
Bragar, on having sent two servants to pull heather : 
Chuir mise Breunan 'us Fudaidh 
A bhuain fraoich 'an cuideachd a cheile; 
Thug Breunan dhachaidh an cudthrum, 
'S thug Fudaidh dhachaidh na geugan. 

I sent B. and F. to pull heather together : B. brought home 
the weight, and F. brought home the boughs. 

Brigh gach cluiche gu 'dheireadh. 

The essence of a game is at the end. 

Bris mo chlaigeann air thus, 's an sin ciùrr mo chorrag. 

First break my skull, then hurt my finger. 

Bristidh am ball acrach 'am meadhoin an t-slaodaidh. 

The anchor-ro2w vnll break in the dragging. 

Bristrdli an teanga bhog an cnàimh. 

The smooth tongue breaks the bone. 

By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue 
breaketh the bone. — Prov. xxv. 15. 

A tongue breaketh bone, and itself hath nouQ.—Eng. 

This figure is applied in the opposite sense by the son of 
Sirach (xxviii. 17) — The stroke of the whip maketh marks in 
the flesh, but the stroke of the tongue breaketh the bones. 

Bristidh each gun urras cnàimhean. 

A horse loithout ivaiTant will break bones. 

Bronnach an t-each, seang an lair. 

The horse big-bellied, the mare slim. 

This is meant as an advice to buyei"s. 


Bruidheami bheag 'us fuaim dhòrn. 

Low speaking and sound of fists. 

Bu cheannach learn d'ubh air do ghloc. 

Your egg is dear for so much cackling. 

Bu cho math dol a dh'iasgach gun mhaorach 's dol a 
chùirt gun sporan. 

As ivell go fishing vjithout hait as to court without 

Bu choir an t-iasad a chur dhachaidh a' gàireachdaich. 

The loan shotdd he sent laughing home. 

A loan (or len') should come laughing home. — Eng. and Scot. 

This pretty saying may be taken to apply both to the giving of 
the loan and the retm-ning of it. To lend freely is to send the 
borrower home smiling ; to send the loan back laughing is to 
repay liberally. 

Bu dual da .sin. 

That ivas his birthright. 

This is one of the most familiar and characteristic sayings in 
the Highlands, where the belief in blood and hereditary tendencies 
and claims is very strong. It is difficult to translate it literally. 
It might be paraphrased, ' That is what you might expect of his 
father and mother's son '. The four following proverbs have the 
same import. 

Bu dual do isean an ròin a dhol thun na mara. 

The young seal takes naturally to the sea. 
Bu dual do laogh an f heidh ruith a bhi aige. 
It is natural for thefaiun to he swift of foot. 
Bu dual do'n bhlàthaich tòchd an ime. 
Ifs natural that huttermilk should smell of butter. 
Bu dual do'n mheann meagad a dheanamh. 
Ifs natural for the kid to bleat. 
Bu gheur an cù a bheireadh an t-earball uaithe. 
It woidd he a clever dog that would take the tail from 

Bu la eil' e do dh-f hear buain na mòine. 

It is change of days for him who is cutting peats. 

Once well to do, now a Gibeonite. 

Bu mhath an teachdair thu 'shireadh an Aoig. 

You would be a good messenger to send for Death. 

Egli è buono a mandarlo per la morte.— Ital. 


Bii mhath an t-iasad mur h-iarrteadh ritliist e. 
The loan were good hut for the repaying. 

Bu mhath an cudaig far nach faight' an saoidhean. 

The cuddy is good when no saithe can be got. 

The young saithe is in some parts of Scotland called 'cuddy,' 
in others ' podly,' in Shetland ' sillock '. It is alleged of the 
inhabitants of a certain island near Skye, that they go even 
further than this proverb, and say, ' 'S math a' sgadan 'n uair 
nach fhaighear an saoidhean '. — The herring is good, &c. But 
they now resent this as a weak invention of the enemy. 

Bu mhath impidh a' choilich mu shiol a thoirt do na 

Well pleaded the cook for corn to the hens. 
Buaidh 'us piseach ort ! 

Success and luck to thte ! 

Bu mhor am beud do bheul binn a dhol gu bràth fo 

' Twer e pity thy sweet mouth should ever go under ground. 

Said ironically of bad singers. 

Bu tiugh an t-uisge 'nigheadh 'aodann. 

It would he thick water that ttmdd wash his face. 

Bu tu 'chuir craicionn do thòin air d' aghaidh ! 

It's you that put your huttock-skin on your face ! 

Said to shameless people. 

Bu tu gille mor leth an tighe ! 

What a great half-the-house lad you are ! 

Said of a man-servant assuming too much authority in the 

Buail an t-iarann 'fhad 's a tha e teth. 

Strike the iron u^hile it's hot. 

Buail an t-iarann fad a 's ta se teith.— Jr. 

Bwoaill choud (cho fad) as ta 'n yiarn cheh.— iVfana;. 

So in Eng., Scot., Fr., Ital., Germ., tfcc. 

Buail do chuilean, agus 's ann h-ugad a ruitheas e. 

Beat your puppy, and it's to you he'll run. 

Buailidh e bròg ort f hèin f hathasd. 

It will hurt yourself hereafter. 

Lit. 'strike a shoe on you'. Hitting one with a shoe was a 
mark of humiliation, as in the East—' Over Edom will I cast out 
my shoe'. — Ps. Ix. 8. 


Buainidh aon fhacal ciad. 

Oiie tvord will set loose a hundred. 

Builgean air teanga nam briag, 's brangas air bial gun 
f liàitheam ! 

Blister on the lying tongue, and padlock for the hem- 
less mouth ! 

Buiir air gach craoibh, 's gun chraobh 'g a leagail. 

A stroke at every tree, without felling any. — Eng. 

Buille do chù mo charaide, 's mir do chù mo nàmhaid. 

A blow to my friend's dog, a bite to my enemy s. 

Buille gach fir air ceann an f liir charraich. 

Every man's blow on the scabby man's head. 

A scald head is soon broken. — Engl. 

Buille mu seach, mar a bha bàta nan each. 

Stroke about, like the horse-boat. 

A boat with horses in it is not easily rowed. 

Buiir o'n taod, 'us cead dol dachaidh. 

A stroke of the rope, and leave to go home. 

Buille 's a' cheann, no dha 's an amhaich. 

A blow on the head, or two on the 7ieck. 

This appUes to the killing of hares and rabbits. 

Buille 's an t-sùil, buille 's a' ghlùn, buille 's an uilinn, 
na tri buillean a 's duilighe fhulang. 

A bloiu in the eye, a bloiv on the knee, a blow on the 
elboiu, the three hardest blows to bear. 

Buinnigear buaidh le foighidinn. 

Patience ivins victory. 

Burn dubh ort ! 

Black water on you ! 

Burn teth do'n fhaochaig, 'us goil gu leth do'n 

Hot water for thewilk,a boil and a half for the mussel. 

Cadal a' chlàrsair : seachd ràidhean gun f haireach. 

The harper's sleep : seven-quarters of a year without 

Cadal a' mhuilleir 's an t-uisge 'dol seachad. 

The miller asleep, and the water running hy. 

Meikle water gaes by when the miller sleeps. — Scot. 

Cadal na caorach 's an dris ort ! 

The sheep) s sleep in the briers to you ! 

Cadal na deargainn air a' ghreadail dhut ! 

The sleep of the fee on the gridiron to you ! 

Cadal nan con 's a' mliuileann 's na mnathan a' 

The sleep of dogs in the mill while the women are sift- 

Cadley ny moddee tra ta ny mraane creearey. — Manx. 

He sleeps as dogs do when wives sift meal. — Eng. 

i.e., wide awake, but eyes shut — 'dog-watch'. 

Cadal fada ri gaoith mhoir. 

High tvind and long sleep. 

Cagar na ban-ghrùdair. 

The alewifes tvhisper. 

Ironical — the whisper apt to become loud. The ' ban-ghrùd- 
air ' has long ago died out in the Highlands. In old times most 
of the ale drunk in Scotland was brewed by women. 

Caidlidh duine air gach cneadh ach a clineadh f hein. 

A man can sleep on every hurt but his own. 

Mai d' autrui n'est que songe. — Fr. 

Let er den Byrde som en anden bser. — Dan. 

Caillear bo an drocli mhuthaich seaclid bliadhna 
roimh 'n mliithich. 

The cow of the had herdman is lost seven years too soon. 

Caillear bo bnachaille. 

A herdman s cow may he lost. 


Càìrdeas Chonain ris na deamhain. 
Conan' s friendship for the devils. 
' Cuff for cuff.' See ' Beatha Chonain '. 

Càirdeas na cleire — sgiiobadh 'us sgròbadh a cheile. 

The friendship of the clergy — scrcqjing and seratching 
each other. 

' C'àite 'bheil thu, 'dlireathainn-duinn ? ' ars an iolair. 
' Tha mis' an so, os do chionn/ ars an dreathann-donn. 

Where art thou, wren? said the eagle. I am here, 
above thee, said the wren. 

The wren and eagle had a trial which would soar highest. 
After a considerable ascent, the eagle could see the wren nowhere, 
and made the above inquiry. The wren was all the time perched 
on the eagle's back ! 

C'àit' am biodh na puirt nach faigheadh na clàrsairean ? 
Where would the tunes he the harpers coidd 7iot findì 

Caitb mar a gbeabli, 's gheabh mar a chaitheas. 
Spend as you get, and you'll get as you spend. 
There is that scattereth and yet Lncreaseth. — Prov. xi. 24. 

Caitheamh criontaig air a cualaig. 
The seruh's spending of her little faggot. 

Caitbidh bo ri bleothann, agus eacb ri treabhadh. 
Coios wear ivith milking, and horses ivith ploughing. 
Caithidh domhan duine. 
The world wears out man. 

Call caraid' taghal trie, 's call caraid' taghal ainmig. 
Friends are lost by calling often, and by calling seldom. 
Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house, lest he be 
weary of thee, and hate thee.— Prov. xxvi. 17. 

A casa de tu hermano no iras cada serano. — Span. 

Calum beag a chur a dliith, gu Murcbadh mor a 

Starving little Malcolm to fatten big Murdoch. 
Eobbing Peter to pay Paul. 

Camaronaicb bhog an ime. 

The soft buttery Camerons. 

This, like most similar sayings about clans, originated, of course, 
among enemies. The Camerons were said to be very fond of 
butter ; but who could deny that they were brave ? 


Caomhain 's co dhà ? cuimhnicli am has. 

Save and for whovi Ì rememher death. 

It is said in the Teachd. Gael, Vol. I., p. 282, that this excellent 
saying was found engraved on a stone at the top of Ben Lawers, 
but no authority is given for the statement. 

Caomhnadh a' chama-chnodaiii, caomhnadh a' s miosa 
na caitheamh. 

The saving of the crooked gurnet, vjorse than siJending. 
Applied to mean gruff persons. 

Caomhnadh math air a' bheagan Bhenrla, 's a' Ghallt- 
achd gu leir romhainn t 

Be sparing of the little English, with the whole Low- 
lands in front of us ! 

Said by an old man to his son on their way to the Falkirk 
market when the son, who had a little more English than the old 
man, began to air it at Dumbarton. 

Caora luideagach a theid 's an dris, fàgaidh i 'h-olainn 
's an dos. 

The ragged shee2) that goes into the briers will leave her 
wool there. 

Car 'an aghaidh ciiir. Turn against twists 
Diamond cut diamond. 

Car tuathal d' aimhleis ort ! 

The left about unluckg turn to you t 

This is founded on the old idea, that motion in the course of 
tlie sun was lucky, and in the opposite direction unlucky. ' Car 
tuathal ' literally means ' northward turn '. See * Deiseal '. 

Carghus a' chion, an Carghus a's miosa 'th'ann. 
Lent for want is worst of Lent. 
Fasting for sheer want of food. 

Carghus, Ir. Carghios, Manx, Cargys, Welsh, Garawys, = 

Cas air creathaill, 's làmh 'an cuigeil, comharradh na 
deagh mhna-tighe. 

Foot to cradle, hand to distaff, mark the good house- 

The foot at the cradle, the hand at the reel, is a sign that a 
woman means to do weel.— (Scoi. 

Cas circ' 'an criathar. A hen's foot in a sieve. 
A bad or xmpleasant fit. 


Casan tìoram Chlann-an-Tòisicli. 

The dry feet of the Maeintoshes. 

This refers to some occasion when the Macintoshes were siip- 
posed by their enemies to have been unduly averse to wetting 
their feet. ' Fadal Chlann-an-Tòisich ' is of the same sort. 

Cat a' chinn bhig, 's bean a' chinn mlioir. 
The sviall-headed cat, the hig -headed ivoman. 
Supposed to be best of their kind. 

Càtachaidh am biadh fiadh na beinne. 
Food will tame the mountain deer. 

Cath ceann an teallaicli. 

The fireside hattle. 

Al. Cath bun an t. Macintosh ascribes this saying to Hay, 
the mythical founder of the Errol family. The story is, that 
being asked by Kenneth III. after the battle of Loncarty, in 
which he decided the day, if he had ever been in a harder fight, 
he replied that he had a harder battle every day at home, a scold- 
ing wife, crying children, and little to give them. 

Cead na caillich do 'n laogh mhear. 
The old wife's leave to the frisky calf 
When she could hold it no longer. 

Ceangail teann, 'us faigh teaminte. 
Fast Und, fast find. — Eng., Scot., Fr., &c. 
Kiangle myr noid (nàmhaid), as yiow (gheabh) myr carrey 
(charàid). — Manx. 

Shut doors after you : fast bind, fast find, 
A proverb never stale in thrifty mind. 

Alerch. of Ven. II. 5. 

Ceangal nigbean an righ air a leannan. 
The king's daughter's tie to her lover. 
Easily broken. 

Ceann cnòdain, 's ceann sgadain, 's ceann goibbr' air 
dhroch fbeannadh, — tri cinn uach fhiach itheadli. 

A gurnet's head, a herring's head, and an ill-flayed 
goat's head, — three heads not fit to eat. 

Ceann dearg air na bbeil a muigb ! 

Bed head on all that's out ! 

Said for luck when the first fish is caught. 


Ceann giiin air madainn Earraich, 

'S mairg a chailleadh a cliaomh charaid. 

A Spring morning toith a stinging head. 

WJio would lose his loell-loved friend ? 
The connection of the two ideas here is far from being obvious. 
The meaning seems to be, that, as a bitter Spring morning is often 
followed by a fine day, so is the displeasure of a friend not to be 
taken as a ground for serious quarrel. 

Ceann mdr air duine giic, 's ceann-circ' air amadan. 

Big head on ivise man, hen's head on fool. 

This is more correct as a general observation than the Scotch 
' Muckle head and little vit,' the German ' Dickkopf, Dummkopf,' 
the French ' Grosse tète, peu de sens,' the Irish 'Cionn mòr air 
bheagan cèille,' and the Manks, ' Kione mooar er j beggan cheilly '. 

Ceann mor 'us muineal eaol, aogas an droch ghamlina. 
Big head and slender neck mark the bad stirk. 
Al, 'Casan caol.' 

Ceann nathrach 'us earball p^ucaig air an Earrach. 
Spring loith a serpent's head and a peacock's tail. 
March comes in with an adder's head, and goes out with a pea- 
cock's tail. — Eng. 

Biting cold, followed by sunny weather. 

Ceannach geal 'n uair a thig an sneachd. 
White hargains when the s7iow comes. 
Snow brings the markets down. 

Ceannaich mar d' f heum 'us reic mar d' àilgheas. 

Bii^ as you must, and sell as you please. 

Oportet patremfamilias esse vendaceni, non emacem. — Cato. 

Ceannard air f hicliead air an fhichead saiglideir. 

Twenty -one cap)tains over twenty soldiers. 
With four and twenty men, 
And five and thirty pipers. — Aytoun. 

Ceannsaichidh a' li-uile fear an droch-bhean, ach am 
fear aig am bi i. 

Every man can rule a shrew save he that hath her. — 

Cearc a' dol a dh-iarraidh geòidh. 

A hen going in quest of a goose. 

Al. Ubh na circe, &c. 

The hen's egg gaes to the ha', to bring the goose's egg awa'. — 

Cearc reamhar a' choilich chaoil. 
Fat hen and lean cock. 

Ceardach dùthcha, muileann sgireachd, 'us tigh- 
na tri àiteachan a 's fhearr air son naigheachd. 

A country-side smithy, a parish mill, and a public- 
house, the three best places for news. 

Ceartas na cleire ri 'chèile. 

TJie justice of the clergy to each other. 

Impressively illxistrated in many decisions of Presbyteries, 
Synods, Assemblies, and General Councils. 

Ceilidh ciall masladh. Sense hides shame. 

Ceilidh gràdh grain. Love hides deformity. 

Ceilidh seirc aineamh. Love hides blemishes. 
Love covereth all sins. — Prov. x. 12. 
Love shall cover a multitude of sins. — 1 Pet. iv. 8. 
TD0XÒS 6 "Epuy. — Gr. 

Love is blind — Love sees no faults — Love makes a good eye 
squint. — Eng. Love overlooks mouy fauts. — Scot. 
Falaiglieann gradb grain, agus chi fuatli a Ian. — Ir. 

Ceilidh nam ban Sleibhteach. 

The visiting of the SI eat women. 

Sleat is the southernmost parish in the Isle of Skye. Wliether 
the women there are more given now to spending their time in 
afternoon calls than is the fashion elsewhere, it would be hard to 
say. The insinuation was, I believe, that their visits were some- 
times prolonged till next morning ! Jealousy probably had some- 
thing to do with this saying. See ' Sleibhte riabhach nan ban 
bòidheach '. 

Ceist an fhithich air an f heannaig. 

The raven's question to the croiv. 

The sort of question sometimes asked by a * Great Power ' of 
another, or perhaps smaller Power, in cases of annexation, oppres- 
sion, &c. 

Ceist bradaig air briagaig. 

The question of the thief to the liar. 

Asking for a certificate of character. See * Aontachadh '. 

Ceithir biisacha fichead 'an He, 's ceithir àrdacha fich- 
ead 'am Mnile, 

Twenty - four " buses " in Islay, and tiventy-four 
"Ards" in Mull. 

A common termination of names of places in Islay is ' bus ' or 


'bos' (generally 'bost' in Skye and Lewis), from the Norse * bol- 
staS ' or * bustaSr/ a dwelling-place. The Gaelic prefix 'àrd'or 
' àird,' a height or promontory, is common in Mull and elsewhere. 

Ceo Foghair, sneachd Earraicli. 
Atitwrnifog, Sirring snow. 

Cèum air do clieurn, a chailleach, 's an ceum barrachd 
aig Eoghan. 

Step for step to thee, old woman, and the odd step to 

The story is that Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, coming once 
from Inverness, was overtaken by a witch, who tried hard to pass 
him. ' Ceum ann, Eoghain,' said she. He answered as above, 
keeping one step ahead of her, which he maintained all the way 
till they reached Ballachulish ferry, when he hailed the boat, and 
got in. The ferryman wouldn't allow the witch to come in, on 
which she took leave of Sir E., saying, ' Dùrachd mo chridhe 
dhut, a ghaoil Eoghain'! — My heart's desire to thee, dear Ewen ! 
Sir E. knew what was what, and replied 'Dùrachd do chridhe do'u 
chloich ghlais ud thall '. — Thy heart's desire to that gray stone 
yonder. And at that moment the gray stone split in two ! (See 
Gael, Vol. IV., p. 113.) That split stone is still pointed out on 
the spot where it happened. 

Cha b'ann air brochan 16m dubh, 's bainne 'chruidh 
mhialaich a's t-Earrach, a chaidh d' àrach. 

It was not on thin Hack gruel and milk of lousy 
Spring cows you were reared. 

Cha b'ann 'an uchd a mhàthar a bhà e. 

It was not in his mother's lap he was. 

Said of one roughly handled. 

Cha b'ann as do bhogha f hèin a thilg thu 'n t-saighead. 

It VMS not from your own low you sent that arroio. 

Cha b'ann de na h-eoin thu mur bitheadh am bad ort. 

You woiddn't be of the birds, if you hadn't the tuft. 

Cha b'ann mar a f huair Mac-Eùslain na mnathan. 

Not as MacRuslan got the loomen. 

This person, a kind of Celtic Eulenspiegel, figures in several 
stories under the various names of MacRùsgail, MacCrùislig, Mac- 
Rùslaig, and MacRuslan. The above saying is founded on an 
apocryphal story of his having found his way, disguised as a 
woman, into a nunnery on an island in Loch Tay, or, according 
to another version, in lona. (See Campbell's W. H. T., Vol. II., 
pp. 304-27. See also Boswell's Tour to the Hebrides, Carruthers' 
Ed. p. 129.) 


Cha b'e 'cheannach a rinn e. 

It was not by purchase he got it. 

It comes by kind, it costs him nothing. — Eng. 

Cha b'e am muileann nach meileadh, ach an t-iiisge 
nacli ruitheadh. 

It was not the mill that tvouldnt grind, hut the vjater 
that vjouldn't run. 

Cha b'e an la am fear nach tigeadh. 

The day tuill come, come v:ho may. 

Cha b'e la na gaoithe la nan sgolb. 

Tlie ivindy day is not the day for thatch-wattles. 

The ' sgolb ' is a wattle, generally of willow, used for fasten- 
ing the thatch, and the meaning is that the fastening of the thatch 
must not be left till the ■wand comes and lifts it Ulster proverb 
in same words. 

Cha b'e 'n clò ciar nach b' fhiach 'f hùcadh. 

It's not the dark home-made cloth that deserves not 

This may be held to allude to the change of cloth, as well as 
of dress, which came into fashion after the despicable prohibition 
of tartan by Act of Parliament in 1746. 

Cha b'e 'n cù mu 'chnàimh e. 
He ivas no dog over his hone. 

Cha b'e an tlàm a bh' air a chuigeiL 
Uiat was not the stuff on his distaff. 
I hae ither tow on my rock. — Scot. 
She hath other tow on her distaff. — Eng. 
Same as having other fish to fry. 

Cha b'e sin an salaiin saor. 

That icas no cheap scdt. 

In 1669 Charles II. "appropriated an exclusive right to make 
salt, though only to hand it over to a courtier— the salt was con- 
sequently bad and dear. In some districts, as Galloway, the 
West, and the Highlands, to which the native article could not 
be carried, salt was wholly wanting, aud the people used salt- 
water instead, ' by which many of them died as of plague ; othere 
being forced to buy at intolerable rates, as 16s. the boll, though 
they formerly had it for 4s.'." — Chambers's Dom. Ann. II., 332. 
So late as 1800, " Salt was taxed to the extent of forty times its 
cost."— Mackenzie's 19th Century, p. 76. 

Cha b'e sin an t-slighe 'n dorus an tighe. 
That was no indoor journey. 


Cha b'e sin ciad ghlaodli-maidne 'bu slieirbhe leis. 

Hiat were not the hitter est morning call to him. 

This may refer to bagpipes or ' bitters,' both of which were at 
one time familiar morning heralds in Highland gentlemen's houses. 
If the latter, the play on words may be considered a very fair one. 

Cha b'e sin deoch mbor de dhroch cbeannach. 

That was no big drink of had hargain. 

This seems to allude to the old practice, fortunately falling 
into disuse, of sealing every bargain with a good big drink. 

Cha b'e sin dol do 'n mhuileann 'us tighinn as. 
That was no going to the mill and returning. 
Cha bheir gad air aithreachas. 
A withe won't catch repentance. 

Al. Cha leighis aithreachas breamas. — Repentance won't cure 

Cha bheir lagh air (iigin. 

Law can't overtake necessity. 

See ' Cha 'n 'eil heart '. 

Angen a dydd deddf — Need will break law. — Welsh. 

Nede hath no lawe. — Eng. Necessity has nae law. — Scot. 

Noth kennt keiu Gebot. — Germ. Nod bryder alle Love. — Dan. 

La necessità non ha legge. — It. Nècessitè n'a pas de loi. — Fr. 

Cha bhi am bochd sòghail saoibhir. 

TJie luxurious poor will not he rich. 

Cha bhi aon duine crionna 'am measg mil' amadan. 

There is not a wise man among a thousand fools. 

Cha bhi ath-sgeul air an droch-sgeul. 

Bad news is never bettered. 

Cha bhi bail air aran fuinte, no air fodar buailte. 

No sparing of haked bread or of thrashed straw. 

Cha bhi bainn aig bo fir, 's cha bhi treabhadh 'an 
each mnatha. 

A man's cow won't yield milk, nor a woman's horse 

This is an exaggeration of the idea that women are the best 
managers of cows, and men of horses. 

Cha bhi bràithreachas mu mhnaoi no mu f hearann. 

There is no partnership) in women or in land. 

Love and lordship like no fellowship. — Eng. 

Amour et seigneurie ne veulent point de compagnie. — Fr. 

Amore e signoria non soffron compagnia. — It. 


Cha blii cuimhne air a' mhath a bhà, ach cuimlinichear 
gu bràth a' math a bhitheas. 

The good that was is forgotten, the good to come is ever 
in mind. 

Ta bee eeit jarroodit — Eaten food is forgotten. — Manx. 

Eaten bread is forgotten. — Eng. 

Merà rrfv òòcnv Taxi-TTa yrjpacTKei x^pis. — Gr. 

Rien ne viellit pins vite qn'nn bienfait. — Fr. 

Val più un piacere da farsi, che cento di quelli fatti. — It. 

Cha bhi donas toirbheartach. 
Bad won't he hountifid. 
Cha bhi dùthchas aig nmaoi no aig sagart. 
Women and priests have no hirth-tie. 
The woman that marries takes her husband's settlement, the 
priest's must be where the Church bids, 

Cha bhi each-iasaid a chaoidh sgith. 
A horroioed horse never tires. 
Tw, farch benthyg !— Gee on, hired horse ! — Welsh. 
Fremdes Pferd und eigene Sporen, haben bald den Wind 
verloren. — Germ. 

Laant Hest og egne Sporer gior korte Miile. —Z)a?i. 

Cha bhi fios air a' chràdh gus an tig e. 

Pain is not knoion till it come. 

Cha bhi fear a' chiad riaraich falamh. 

The first served will not he empty. 

Cha bhi feill air blionaich. 

Bad meat won't get market. 

Cha bhi fios air math an tobair gus an tràigh e. 

The worth of the well is not known till it dixies up. 

Ni wyddys eisiau 'r ffynnon onid el yn hesp. — Welsh. 

Cha bhi fios ciod a tha 's an truaill gus an tarr- 
uingear e. 

What's in the scahhard is not knoivn till it's drawn. 

Cha bhi fòir air mnaoi gun leanabh. 

The childless woman ivill he helpless. 

The Celtic philoprogenitiveness, especially as regards male off- 
spring, is like that of the Hebrews. 

Cha bhi fuachd air uallachan, air fuairead an latha. 
The fop feels no cold, however cold the day. 
Al. Cha laidh fuachd. 


Cha dennee rieaw yn voyrn feayraght. — Pride never knew cold. — 
Manx. Pride feels no cold. — Eng. Pride finds nae caiild. — Scot. 

Cha bhi gean air Granndaich gus am faigh iad lite. 

Grants are not gracious till they get their porridge. 

This is merely an alliterative version of the general observa- 
tion, that a" man is not in such good humour before meat as after 
it. The same thing is said of the Campbells, the Gunns, and the 
M'Kenzies, substituting ' diota ' or ' biadh ' for ' lite '. 

Cha bhi luathas agus grinneas. 
Quick and fine dont comline. 
Good and quickly seldom meet. — Eng. 
Snart og vel er sielden sammen. — Dan. 
Presto e bene non si conviene. — It. 

Cha bhi miann dithis air an aon mhèis. 
Two men's desire won't he on the same dish. 
One man's meat is another man's poison. — Eng., Scot, 

Cha blii mo run 'g am losgadh. 

Mi/ desire (or secret) loont consume me. 

Cha bhi nàir' air a' ghortach. 

The starving man wont he hashful. 

Rhag newyn nid oes gwyledd. — Welsh. 

Cha bhi nàrachan trèubhach, 's bidh don-bidh air an 
fhear nach ith a chuid. 

The hashful won't he hrave, and hell fare ill that doesn't 
eat his share. 

Cha bhi sinn 'g a innseadh do na feannagan. 

We won't tell it to the craws. 

Cha bhi uaill gun dragh, 's cha bhi sinn a' draghachadh 

Fride is not without trouhle, so we vjon't he trouhled 
with it. 

Cha bhi 'n t-im sin air an roinn sin. 

Tliat butter toont he so divided. 

Cha bhi seana-ghlic og trie fada beò. 

The early wise soonest dies. 

"Op 01 deol (jyikova-iv anoOvrja-Kei veos- — Gr. (Menand.) 

Is cadit ante senem, qui sapit ante diem. — Lat. 

So wise, so young, they say, do ne'er live long. — Rich. III. 

Klogt Barn lever ey Isenge. — Dan. 


Cha bhi suaimhneas aig eucoir, no seasamh aig drocli- 

Wrong cannot rest, nor ill deed stand. 
There is no- peace, saith my God, to the wicked. — Isaiah, 

Methought I heard a voice cry. Sleep no more ! 
Macbeth does murder sleep.^ — Macb, i. 2. 

Cha bhi saoithreach gun siubhal. 

The industrious must he on the move. 

Cha bhi sonas air bus 16m. 

A hare mouth wont he lucky. 

The most rational gloss for the word ' 16m ' here seems to be 
one which none of the Dictionaries give, but which, notwithstand- 
ing, is very applicable to the great bard Ian Lom, viz., curt, 
cutting. The doctrine is very Celtic=politeness is better than 

Cha bhi teud reidh 's an fhidhill. 

There won't he a tuned string in the fiddle. 

Cha bhi thu na 's oige ri d' ionnsachadh. 
You II never he younger to learn, 
i.e., the sooner you know it the better. 

Cha bhi Tòiseach air Tirmidh, 's cha bhi Tirlnidh 
gun Tòiseach, 

There shall never he a Macintosh of Tirinie, nor shall 
Tirinie he ivithout a Macintosh. 

Macintosh, in a note on this, calls it ' a ridiculous prophecy 
concerning an ancient family in Perthshire, now extinct ' ; apropos 
of which he gives the story of their being killed by the Cum- 
mings. Tirinie is near Blair Atholl, and it is pleasant to know 
thata Macintosh still (1880) farms there. 

Clia bhinn teanga learn leat, 

Cha bhithinn latha bhuat 'us agad ; 

Cha ruiginn grinneal mo ghràidh, 

'S cha chagnainn cùl mo chompanaich. 

The doitble tongue I love it not, 

I ivould not he noiu cold now hot ; 

Nor put my love ttpon the rack, 

Noi' hite my friend hehind his hack. 

Cha bhodach Gill-Iosa do na h-uile fear, 

Gillies is 710 old man to everyhody. 

This was said by an old man at Duntulm, in Skye, to Iain 

Garbh, a celebrated MacLeod, who kept his galley there, where 
the groove is still shown, worn in the rock of the beach, up and 
down which she was launched or drawn up. The great John 
wished, against the old man's advice, to set out on an expedition 
to Harris, and planting himself against the stem of the galley, 
exerted all his famed strength to shove her dowm, while old Gillies, 
with his back to the stern, resisted his efforts, and with success. 
When Iain Garbh gave the thing up, calling the other a 'bodach, 
the old man made the above remark. 

Cha bhrideach air an fhaich e. 
He is no pigmy on the lattle-field. 

Cha bhrist mollachd cnàimh. 
A curse breaks oio bones. 
See ' Cha tuit guidhe '. 

Cha bhuadhaich am meata. 

The weak shall not win. 

See ' Am fear nach misnich,' and ' Cha dean tùirse '. 

Cha bhuidheach gach ro dhileas ; 's mairg a dh'earbas 
a h-aon dileas. 

The nearest is not always dearest ; pity him whose trust 
is in one kinsman. 

A little more than kin, and less than kind. — Hamlet, i. 2. 

Cha b' i an t-suiridhe bean gun chosdas. 
Wooing is a costly dame. 

Cha b' ionnan O'Brian 's na Gàidhil. 
0' Brian and the Gael were not alike. 
That O'Brian was an Irishman is aU that we know of him. 

Cha b' uaill gun f heum e. 
That was no useless pride. 

Cha b' uan sin air bial-thaobh oisge. 
That were no yearling's lamb. 

At. ' laogh air bial-thaobh maoiseig ' — a calf before a heifer. 
Said of those who do something, rather behind than before 
the time, such as marrying late. 

Cha bu choir dha cadal 's an f haiche, am fear air am 
bi eagal nan cuiseagan. 

He that shakes at stalks should not sleep in the field. 

Cha bu dileab air nàmhaid sin. 
That were no legacy to an enemy. 


Cha bii leis a laidhe no 'èirigh. 
His lying down and rising up were not his own. 
Said of one in a state of bondage, or much worried. Some- 
what similar is 

Cha bu shaoghal dhaibh am beatha tuille. 

Their life loere life to them no more. 

Cha bu rabhadh gun leisgeul e. 

It was no unioarranted ivarning. 

Cha bu rnith learn ach leum. 

/ woidd jump at it, not run. 

Cha bu tu mi, 's cha bu mhi 'n cù. 

You are not I, and I am no cur. 

A polite Celtic form of telling a man that he is a hound. 

Cha chaillear na theid 'an cunnart. 

A's no' tint that's in hazard. — Scot. 

All is not lost that is in peril. — Eng. 

No se pierde todo lo que esta en peligro.— jSpan. 

Cha chall cùise sineadh latha. 

It's not a lost cause that's adjourned. 

Cha chall na gheabh caraid. 

It's no' tint tohat a freend gets. — Scot. 

Cha chaochail dubh a dhath. 

Black never changes hue. 

Al. Gabhaidh gach dath dubh, ach cha ghabh dubh dath. 

Every colour will take black, but black takes none. 

Black will take no other hue. — Eng., Scot. 

Lanarum nigrse niillum colorem bibunt. — Plin. 

Cha chaoidh duin' an rud nach f haic e. 
A man laments not ivhat he does not see. 
When the eye sees not, the heart grieves not. — Arab. 
"What the eye sees not, the heart rues not. — Eng., Scot. 
Wat het oog niet en ziet, dat begeert het herte met.— Dutch. 
Ojos que no ven, corazon que no quiebra. — Span. 

Cha charaid ach caraid na h-airce. 

The friend in need is the only friend, 

i \'òxi skal vinar neyta. — Icel. 

Een vriend in nood is een vriend in der daad. — Dutch. 

Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur. — Ennius. 

Au besoin 1' on connait 1' ami. — Fr. 

A friend cannot be known in prosperity.— jFcc?. (Jes.) 

Car cynwir, yn yi ing y gwelir.— Welsh. 


Clia chat mi f hein nach aitlinich blàthach. 

/ am not a cat that doesn't know huttermilk. 

Cha cheil amadan a bheachd. 

A fool can't hide his thought. 

Ni chel ynfyd e feddwl. — Welsh. 

A fool uttereth all his mind. — Prov. xxix. 11. 

The fool's heart is in his mouth. — Eccl. (Jes). Arab, 

A fool's bolt is soon shot. — Eìig. 

Narren Bolzen ist bald verschossen. — Germ. 

Cha cheil e ni a chi no 'chluinneas e. 

He can't hide what he sees or hears. 

Cha cheil cearraich' a dhisnean. 

A gamester v:ont conceal his dice. 

Cha cheil gruaidh cuaradh cridhe. 

The cheek hides not a hurt heart. 

Ni chel grudd gystudd calon. — Welsh. 

Cha cheòl do dhiiine a bhròn uile aithris. 

'Tis no miisic for a man to tell all his grief. 

Cha chiall saoilsinnean, 's cha ghaol ràiteannas. 

Supposing is not sense, nor is talk love. 

Stultimi est dicere, putabam. — Lat. 

Cha chinn barrag air cuid cait. 

The cat's milk makes no cream. 

Al. Cha bhi ce air cugainn cait. 

Cha d-tig uachtar air bhoinne an chait. — Tr. 

Cha chinn coinneach air clach an udalain. 

Moss grows not on the oft-turned stone. 

Al. A' chlach a thionndaidhear trie, cha tig coinneach oirre. 

This saying is found in almost every European language, 
ancient or modern. The usual application of it shows that a very 
popular saying may be founded on a very superficial analogy. 
It implies that the gathering of moss is a useful and meritorious 
function for a stone, and that the stone which innocently rolls 
when set in motion is not so well employed as the one that sits 
still and gathers moss ! 

The philosophy of the German proverb, ' Ein Miihlstein wird 
nicht moosig,' A millstone gets not mossy, is much better. 

A160S KyXiojievoi (f)vKos ov Trolei. — Gr. 

Saximi volutum non obducitur musco. — Latin. 

Pietra mossa non fa musco. — It. 

Piedra movediza nunca moho la cubija. — Span. 

Pierre qui roule n' amasse point de mousse. — Fr, 

Walzender Stein wird nicht moosig. — Germ. 


Een rollencle steen neemt geen nios mede. — Dutch.. 

Den Steen der ofte flyttes, bliver ikke mossegroet. — Dan. 

A rolling stone gathers no moss. — Eng. 

A rowin' stane gathers nae fog. — Scot. 

Cha chruinnigheann cloch chasaidh caonach. — Jr. 

Y maen a cbeigla ni fysygla. — IFelsh. 

Cha chinn fiar air an rathad mlior. 
Grass grows not an the liiglnvay. — Eng. 
There grows nae grass at the market cross. — Scot, 
In cammino battuto erba non cresce. — It. 
A chemin battu ne croit pas d'herbe. — Fr. 

Cha chluinn e glaodhaich nan còrr. 
He cant hear the cranes' cry. 
Said of a very deaf person. 

Cha chhiinnteadh gaoir-chatha leibh. 
You vjoulcl clroivn the hattle-cry. 
Said to very noisy people. 

Cha choileach a mhealladh a' moll mi. 
/ am not a cock to he caught ivith chaff. 
An old bird is not caught with chaflL — E7ig. 

Cha choir an t-each glan a chur h-uige. 
The willing horse ought not to be urged... 
Ni coir gearran èasgaidh a ghrèasughadh. — Ir. 
A good horse should be seldom spurred. — Eng. 
A gentle horse sud be sindle spurred. — Scot. 
Williges Pferd soil man nicht treiben. — Germ. 
Buon cavallo non ha bisogno de' sproni. — It. 
Cavallo que buela, no quiere espuela. — Span. 
Cavallo que voa, nao quer espora. — Port. 

Cha choir do dliuine a ghràdh 'us 'aithne chur a 
dh-aon taobh. 

One should not set his love and friendship all on one 

Cha choir do 'n chiontach a bhi reachdach. 

The vjrongful should not he litigiaus. 

Ni ddyly cyfraith nis gwnel. — Welsh. 

Cha choir gòisinn a chur 'an rathad an doill. 

A snare should not he laid in the tuay of the hlind. 

Cha chord muc sheasg 'us àl. 

A barren sow was never good to ings. — Eng. 


Cha choisinn balbhan earrasaid. 's cha 'n fhaigh 
amadan oighreachd. 

A dumly won't win a mantle, nor a fool get an inheri- 

A dumb man never gets land. — Eng. 

The use of the word ' earrasaid ' here is peculiar, the article of 
dress it denotes being known to us only as feminine. The second 
half of the proverb seems to contradict the law of primogeni- 
ture, but it means that no fool can win a fortune. 

Cha chreach e dùthaich. 

He vjont.ruin a country-side. 

An expression of hospitality in reference to a giiest. 

Cha chreid an òige gu'n tig an aois, 's cha chreid an 
aois gun tig am bàs. 

Youth can't believe that age ivill come, nor age that 
death will. 

Cha chreid thu 'n t-Aog gus am faic thu 'n t-adhlac. 

You won't believe in Death till you see the burial, 

Cha chreidear an f hirinn o bhial nam briag. 

Truth is not believed from a lying mouth. 

Cha bee breagery credit, ga dy ninsh eh y n'irriney. — Manx. 

Al bugiardo non si crede la ventà. — It. 

Cha chreidear fear lial gus an ruigear a chùl. 

The liberal man is not believed till his jna'se is drained. 

Lit. ' till his back is reached '. His difficulties are not believed 
so long as he has anything to give. 

Cha chudthrom air loch an lach, 
Cha chudthrom air each a shrian, 
Cha chudthrom air caor' a h-olann, 
'S cha chudthrom air colainu ciall. 
The loild-duck burdens not the loch. 
The bridle burdeiis not the horse. 
Her wool burdciis not the sheep, 
A7id sense burdens not the body. 
Al. Cha truimid an loch, and, Cha trom leis an loch. 
This fine verse is among the ' Sean Fhocail ' of Duncan Loudin. 

It was given as part of the song referred to in note to ' Bhi 

fadadh teine fa loch,' — ante, p. 60. 

Cha chuimhnich an ditheach a chù,gus ambi abhrù làn. 
The empty man doesn't remember his dog till he fills his 


Cha chuir duine 'cliall 'n a sporan. 

A man can't put his loss into his purse. 

Cha chuir e 'bhuinnig air a bhrògan. 

His gain wont sole his shoes. 

Cha chuir e'n luath mu 'n spàrr. 

He won't send the ashes to the cross-lcam. 

i.e., he won't raise a great dust. 

Cha chuireadh e gad 's an t-srathair. 

He coiddn't fix a withe in the pack-saddle. 

Good for nothing. 

Cha chuirear gad air gealladh. 

You can't put vnthes on promises. 

Cha chuirinn mo thuagh bhearnach 'n ad choille 

/ woiddn't 'put my notched axe into your withered ivood. 

Al. "n ad fhiodh carraigneach '. 

Cha chuiriuu mo noigean air a' chial do 'n fhear nach 
cuireadh diar ann. 

/ wouldn't incline my noggin to him that tooiddn't put 
a drop iii it. 

Al. Na cuir do shoitheach air a' chliathaich do 'n fhear nach 
leasaich e. 

Cha chum an soitheach ach a Ian. 

The vessel holds hut its fill. 

Al. an soitheach Gàidhealach. 

Ni choinnigheann an soitheacli acht a Ian. — Ir. 

Cha chum freiteach ach deamhan. 

None hut devils keep rash voios. 

Cha chumar tigh le bial dùinte. 

House tvith closed door can't he kept. 

A very hospitable saying. 

Cha daor am biadh ma gheabhar e. 

Food is not dear, ifi it can he got. 

Cha daoire 'n giadh na 'shailleadh. 

The goose is no dearer than his salting. 

Cha deach eug no imrich nach d' fhuair moladh, 's 
cha do phòs nach d' fliuair càineadh. 

None died orfiitted without praise, none married without 

For a more terse version, see ' Ma 's math leat '. 


Cha deachaidh car do theadhrach mu plireas. 

Yottr tether didn't get round a hush. 

Said to one who doesn't look starved. 

Cha deacli Theab riamh le creig. 

Almost never vjent over a rock. 

Almost was never hanged. — Eng. 

Aniaist was ne'er a man's life. — Scot. 

Nserved slaaer ingen: Mand ihiel — Almost kills no man. — Dan. 

Cha dean a' ghlòir bhòidheach an t-amadan sàthach. 

Fine talk loont fill the fool. 

Fair words butter no parsnips. — Eng.. 

Mony words dinna fill the firlot.— Scoi. 

Schone Worte fallen den Sack nicht. — Germ. 

Belle parole non pascon i gatti. — It. 

Cha dean am balbh briag. 

Dumhie winna lee. — Scot. 

Cha deannan balbhan brèug. — Ir. 

Cha dean a' phhiic a' phiobaireachd. 

Puffing tvon't make pijnng. 

Cha dean am bodach briag 's a chlann a 's tigh, 

The churl wont tell lies hcfore his children. 

Cha deannan bodach brèug, 's a chlann a lathair. — Ir. 

They might innocently convict him by saying, ' O Papa ' ! 

Cha dean an t-òl ach am fear a dh'f haodas. 
He only drinks who can. 

Cha dean aon cheirein diiine slàn, 's cha dean aon 
sàth duine reamhar. 

One dose loill not cure, nor one feed make fat: 

Cha dean aon smeòrach Samhradh. 
One mavis makes not summer. 
Cha deannan aon àilleog Samhradh. — Ir. 
Cha jean nn ghollan-geaye Sourey, ny un chellagh-keylley 
Geurey. — Manx. 

Mia ;^€X£Sà)i/ eap ov ivoiei. — Gr. 

Una hirundo non facit ver. — Lat. 

Una golondrina no hace verano. — Span. 

Une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps. — Fr. 

Una rondine non fa primavero. — It. 

Eine Schwalbe macht keinen Friihling. — Germ. 

Bene zwaluw maakt geen zomer. — Du. 

Een Svale gior ingen Sommer.— i'aw. 

One swallow makes not Summer. — Eng. 


Cha dean brògan tioram iasgach. 

Dry shoes wont get fish. 

JN'o se toman tniclias a bragas enjutas. — Span. 

'iSsiO se tomao trutas a bragas enxutas. — Fort. 

Trouts are not taken with dry breeches. • 

Cha dean cas làidir nach ith brù mhòr. 
What strong foot earns hig helly eats. 
Ce que gantelet gagne, le gorgerin le mange. — Fr. Saying of 
Bayard. (Disraeli's Curios, of Lit. Philosophy of Proverbs.) 

Cha dean cas luath maorach. 
Hasty foot won't get shellfish. 

Cha dean cat miotagach sealg. 
Cat with mittens ivont catch mice. 
The muffled cat is never good mouser. — Eng. 
Gatta inguantata non prese mai topo. — It. 

Cha dean corag mhilis im, no glaimsear càise. 
Sweet finger won't make hutter, nor a glutton cheese. 

Cha dean cridhe misgeach briag. 

A drunken heart wont lie. 

Al. Cha tig briag bho chridhe misgeach. 

Oti/oy, w TralSfs, akr]Qiia. 'Ej/ oivaa àXrjtìeia. — Gr. 

In vino Veritas. — Lat. 

What soberness conceals drunkenness reveals. — Eng, 

A fu' man 's a true man. — Scot. 

Cha dean cu sàthach sealg. 
A full dog won't hunt. 

Cha dean duine don' ach a dhichioll. 
A lioor felloio can do hut his best. 

Ni eill neb namyn ei allu — None can do but what he can. — 

Cha dean fear a' sporain fhalaimh ach beag farum 
's an tigh-òsda. 

The man of em^ty 'purse will make hut little noise in 
the inn. 

Cha dean fuar bliochd. 

Cold ivill not onaike milk. 

The use of the adjective as a noun here is worthy of notice. 

Cha dean goile acrach casaid air a' bhiadh. 
A hungry stomach won't decry the food. 


Cha dean mi da chliamliuinn do m'aon nighinn. 

/ won't make two sons-in-lcao for my one daughter. 

Eigi ma gora tva maga at einni dottur. — Iceland. 

Cha dean, minnein meaun, 's cha dean giullan clann. 

A kid hegets not kids, nor a hoy bairns. 

Cha dean sinn cruit-chiùil deth. 

We won't make a harp of it. 

Al. Cha dean sinn òran deth — we won't make a song of it. 
' Cruit,' Scot, and Ir. Gael., a harp or fiddle ; ' Crwth/ Welsh ; 
' Crowd,' Engl, a fiddle. 

The pipe, the tabor, and the trembling croud. — Spenser. 

Chevy-chase sung by a blind crowder. — Sidney. 

Cha dean thusa toll, nach cuir mise cnag ann. 

You won't make a hole that I won't put a peg in. 

Autant de trous, autant de chevilles. — Fr. 

Cha dean ' Tiugainn ' ceum, 's cha do chailleadh 
' Theab '. 

' Come on' does not move, and ' Almost' was never lost. 

Cha dean sgleogaireachd ceilp. 

Fulsome talk wont make kelp. 

Cha dean ' tapadh leis an f hidhleir ' am f idhleir a 

' Thank you ' ivon't pay the fiddler. 

Cha dean tùirse ach truaghan, 's fear na lag-mhisnich 
cha'n fhaigh e bean ghlic gu La-luain. 

None hut the pitiful pine, and weak heart will never 
win wise loife. 

Faint heart never won fair lady. — Eng., Scot. 

Jamais honteux n'eut belle amie. — Fr. 

Verzagt' Herz freit nimmer ein schon' Weib. — Germ. 

Bange Hierte vandt aldrig fager Mo. — Dan. 

Cha deanar banas-tighe air na fraighean falamh. 

House-keeping can't he done with empty shelves. 

A toom pantry makes a thriftless guidwife. — Scot. 

Bare walls make giddy housewives. — Eng. 

Vides chambres font femmes folles. — Fr. 

Cha deanar buannachd gun chall. 

Nopi'ofit tvithout loss. 

Cha deanar duine glic ach air a chosd fhe^.in. 

One gets tvisdotn at his own cost. 

See ' Is fhearr aon chiall ceannaich '. 


Cha deanar leas caraid gun saothair. 
Friend can't he helped without trouble. 

Cha deanar math gun mhulad. 
Good is not done vnthout grief. 

Cha deanar sagart gun f hoghlum, 's cha dean foghlum 

A priest shoidd he learned, hut learning won't make a 

Cha deanar salann gun sail, no leas bràthar gun 

Salt is not made ivithout hrine, nor brother's help with- 
out loss. 

Cha deanar seobhag de 'n chlamhan. 

You cannot make hawks of kites. 

A carrion kite will never make a good hawk. — Eng. 

On ne saurait faire d'une buse im epervier. — Fr. 

Cha deanar treine gun triùir, 's bidh iad crùbach gun 

Three go to make strength, and they'll he lame without 

Cha deic luas na h-earba gun na coin a chur rithe. 

Tlie swiftness of the roe is known ivithout the loosing of 
the hounds. 

Clia deoch-slàint' i gun a tràghadh. 

It is no health if not drained. 

* No heel-taps ' ! 

Cha d' eug duine beairteach riamh gun dileabach. 
No rich man ever died vnthout an heir. 

Cha d' f hag e clach gun tionndadh. 
He left no stone unturned. 
Char fhàg se cloch gan tionta. — Ir. 

Cha d' fhàg claidheamh Fhinn riamh fuigheall 

Fingal's sword never had to cut twice. 

Cha d'fhuair am madadh-ruadh riamh teachdaire 
'b' f hearr na e fhein. 

Tliefox never got a better messenger than himself. 


Cha d' fhuair Conan riamh dòrn gun dòrn a thoirt 
g' a cheann. 

Conan never qot a Uow without returning it. 

See ' Càirdeas Chonain '. 

Cha d' fhuair droch bhuanaiche riamli deadh chorran. 

Bad reaper never got good sickle. 

Chan fhuair droch bhuanaidhe a riamh corran maith. — Ir. 

Cha dooar rieaii drogh veaynee corran mie. — Manx. 

Never had ill workman good tools. — Eng. 

Per con. Cha d' fhiiair biianaiche math droch corran riamh. 

Ni ddiffjgion arf ar was gwych. — Weapon to the brave won't be 
wanting. — Welsh. 

Cha d' fhuair droch iomramhaiche ràmh math riamh. 
Bad rower never got good oar. 

Cha d' fhuair duine riamh a thuarasdal gus an do 
choisinn e e. 

No man wages ever got, until for them he had wrought. 

Cha d' fhuair sgathadh nach d' fhuiling nàire. 

Scorn comes commonly loi' shaith. — Scot. 

Eshyn yiow skeilley (sge'ileadh), yiow e craid (cnead). — Manx. 

Cha d' fhuair sruth leis, nach d' fhuair sruth 'n a 

None ever got tide ivith him, that did not get against him. 

Cha d' fhuair sùil ghionach riamh cunnradh math. 
Greedy eye never got good bargain. 
Cha d' fhuaradh an Donas riamh marbh air cùl 

The Devil vms never found dead behind a dyke. 
Seldom lies the Devil dead in a ditch. — Eng. 
It's lang ere the De'il dee by the dyke-side.— Scof. 
This well expresses the vitality of the Father of Lies. 

Cha d' fhuaradh buaidh air fear na moch-eirigh. 

The early riser was never overcome. 

Cha d' fhuaradh cliath-chliata riamh air cladach, 

A harrov) was never foitnd on a shore. 

Cha d' f huili'ng fuachd nach d' fhuair teas. 

None suffered cold but got heat. 

Cha dhubh grian 's cha ghealaich uisg' e. 

Sun won't blacken nor water bleach it. 


Cha dìol ' toileach ' fiach. 
' Willing ' jp«?/s no debt. 
Sorrow will pay no debt. — Enq. 
Cha d' ith na coin an aimsir. 
21ie time was not devoured by the dogs. 
' And yet it was wasted.' 

The translation of this in the 2nd Ed. of Macintosh is, ' The 
dogs did not worry the wether ' ! 

Char ith na madaidh deireadh na bliadhna go foill. — Ir. 

Cha d' ith thu seachd cruachan-arbhair leis fhathasd. 

Tou haven't eaten seven corn-stacks with him yet. 

Al. Cha do loisg thu seachd cruachan-nxòine leis — YouhavenH 
burnt seven peat-stacks with him. 

Cha diùlt peann briag. 

A pen won't refuse to lie. 

Polite falsehoods are more easily written than said. 

Cha dlighe do pheighinn fois. 

Penny's right is not rest. 

Argent est rond, il faut qu' il roule. — Fr. 

I danari vanno e vengono. — Ital. 

Cha do bhrist modh ceann duine riamh. 

Courtesy never broke man's crown. 

' It's aye gude to be ceevil,' quo' the auld wife when she beckit 
to the Deevil.— Scof. 

Cha do bhrist fear riamh a bhogha, nach d' f heum fear 
eil' an t-sreang. 

No man ever broke his how, but another needed the string. 

Cha do bhuidhinn thu air na cairtean, nach do chaill 
thu air na disnean. 

You won not at the cards that you lost not at the dice. 

Cha do bhuidhinn tùs nach do bhuidhinn donas. 

Luck at first, loss at last. 

Chi vince prima, perde il sacco e la farina. — Ital. 

Cha do chaill 'n a thoiseach nach do bhuannaich 'n a 

Lose at first, win at last. 

Cha do chleachd am bodach biodag. 

The felloiv vms not used to a dirk. 

Cha do chhath thu na threabh mise fhathasd. 

You haven't harrowed yet what I have ploughed. 


Cha do cliòrd dithis riabh a' cur tein' air. 
Two 7iever agreed at the kindling of afire. 
See ' Cha robli dithis '. 
Char fhadaigh dis teine gan troid. — Ir. 

Cha do chuir a bhun ris nach do chinnicli leis. 
None trusted him that did not thrive. 

Cha do chuir a ghualainn, nach do chuir tuar thairis. 
None ever set his shoidder to, that did not what he 
sought to do. 

Cha do chuir Dia riamh bial thun an t-saoghail, gun 
a chuid fa 'chomhair. 

God never sent the mouth hut tlie meat with it. — Scot. 

Char òrduigh Dia bèul gan biadh. — Ir. 

Gud giver alle Mad, som han giver Mund. — Dan. 

GuS gefr bjorg me3 barni. — Icel. 

Cha do dhirich Fionn bruthach riamh, 's cha d' f hag e 
bruthach gun direadh. 

Fingal never climbed a hrae, and he left no hrae un- 

This is a puzzle more than a proverb. It means that F., being 
a wise man, zig-zagged up hills. 

Cha do dhùin dorus, nach d' f hosgail dorus. 

No door ever shut hut another opened. 

Al. Ged dhùinear dorus, fosglar dorus. 

Mai si serra una porta, che non si apra un' altra. — It. 

Donde una puerta se cierra, otra se abre. — Span. 

This proverb is the one quoted by Don Quixote, when he made 
the interesting reflection on Proverbs, already cited under ' An 
sean-fhacal '. 

Cha do mheall e ach na dh' earb as. 
He tricked hut those who trusted him. 

Cha do mhlll foighidin mhath duine riamh. 
Oood patience never hurt a man. 

Cha d' Ò1 an sagart ach na bh' aige. 
The priest drank only what he had. 

Cha d' òrdaich Dia do 'n duine bhochd an da latha 
oho olc. 

Tivo days alike ill, God to poor men dràh not will. 


Cha d' rinn iad de sliiùcar no de shalann tlm. 
You weren't made of sugar or salt. 
This proverb cannot claim great age. 
Cha d' rinn sàr nach d' f huiling sàr. 
None ever did violence hut suffered violence. 
All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. — 
Matth. xxvi. 52. 

Cha d' rinn Theah riamh sealg. 

' Almost ' never got game. 

See ' Cha deach Theab '. 

Cha d' rinn uisge glan riamh leann math. 

Pure water never made good ale. 

This may be classed among ' vulgar errors '. 

Cha do sheid gaoth riamh nach robh 'an seòl cuid-eigin. 

No wind ever blew that did not Jill some sail. 

Cha do shoirbhich dithis riamh air an aon chnoc. 

No tivo ever prospered on the same hill. 

Comp. with ' Cha bhi bràithreachas '. 

Cha do shuidh air cloich, nach d' thuirt ' Oich !' mu'n 
d' eirich. 

None ever sat on stone that didn't sigh before he rose. 

Cha do shuidh air stiùir nach d' thàinig bho 'làimh 

No man ever held helm that did not some time lose his 

Cha d' thàinig iaa glan riamh a nead a' chlamhain. 

Clean bird never came out of kite's 7iest. 

Cha d' thainig iasg as a chuan nach eil cho math 

There's as guid fish in the sea as ever cam' oot o't. — Scot. 

Al. Tha iasg cho math anns a mhuir 's a thàinig riamh aisde. 

Ta iasg 's a bh-fairge ni 's fearr nà gabhadh a riamh. — Ir. 

Cha d' thàinig tràigh gun mhuir-làn 'n a deigh. 

There never was ebb without flood following. 

See ' Cha 'n 'eil tuil '. 

Cha d' thàinig ubh mor riamh bho'n dreathann-donn. 
Large egg never came from the wren. 
Al. ' Cha tig.' 

The Scottish version of this is applied, says Kelly, to insigni- 
ficant gifts from niggardly persons. 


Cha do tliaisg nacli d' f himir. 

Nought VMS ever laid hy that vms not needed. 

Keep a thing seven years, and ye'll find a use for't. — Scot. 

Cha do tliilg le 'leth-làimh, nach do thionail le 'dlià 

None threw away with one hand timt did not gatlier 
vjith hath. 

Chi butta via oro con le mani, lo cerca co' piedi. — It. 

Cha do threabh thu 'n t-imir 'tha romhad f hathasd. 

You haven t ploughed the ridge Ijefore you yet. 

Al. Treabh an t-iniir a tha romhad an toiseach. 

Ars an t-each òg 's a' mhaduinn, ' Treabhaidh sinn an t-imir ud, 
's an t-imir iid eile '. Ars an seann each, ' Treabh am lear 'tha 
romhad an dràsda, 's treabhaidh sinn each a rithist '. Agus 
threabh an seann each, 's thug an t-each òg thairis. — Said the 
young horse in the morning, ' We'll plough that ridge and the 
otlier one'. Said the ohl horse, ' Plough the one before you now, 
and we'll plough the rest after '. And the old horse ploughed, 
but the young one gave over. 

Cha do thrèig Fionn riamh caraid a làimhe deise. 
Flngal never forsook his right liand friend. 

Cha d' thug Fionn riamh blàr gun chumha. 

Fingal never fought a fight unthout offering terms. 

This very old proverb, and the still oftener quoted one, 
* Cothrom na Fèinne' (q.v.), indicate a sense of justice and gener- 
osity, of which the most civilised nations of the 19th century 
exhibit too little in the conduct of war Fionn or Fingal, the ideal 
hero-king of the Scoto-Irish race, corresponds in character, and in 
domestic misfortune, to King Arthur, faithful to his friends, 
generous to his enemies, mighty in war, gentle and wise in peace. 
The name Fingal, and the adjective Fingalian, being now so 
generally used, are preferable, for that and other reasons, to Finn 
and Fenian, though the latter are more strictly correct. The name 
Fingal is not an invention of Macpherson's, as some have ima- 
gined. It was used by Barbour in the 14th century, as the name 
by which the Celtic hero was then known in Scotland — 
He said, Mee thinke Martheokes sonne, 
Plight as Golniakmorne was wonne, 
To have from Fjmgall his menvie. 

The Bruce., Ed. 1620, p. 40. 

Cha d' thug gaol luath, nach d' thug fuath clis. 

Hasty love and sudden hate. 

Love me little, love me long. — Eng. 

Aime-moi uu peu, mais cuiitinue. — Fr. 


Amami poco, ma continua.— 7(. 

Elsk mig licit, og elsk mig Isenge. — Dan. 

Cha d' thug leis an truaill, nach d' fhuair leis a' 

JVone gave with the scabbard but got with the sword. 

Cha d' thug thu ach breab bheag 's a' ghriosaich. 

You gave hut a slight kick to the evihers. 

Cha d' thug thu do long f hein gu cala fhathasd. 

Yon haven't brought your own ship to port yet. 

Cha d' thug thu ribeag a 'f hiasaig. 

Yoii haven't plucked a hair out of his heard.. 

Cha dubhairt Dia na thubhairt thusa. 

God hath 7iot said all thou hast said. 

Applicable to much theology, and other things claiming divine 
authority. Considering that the Celts are by uatiu'e reverential, 
this saying does them great credit. 

Cha dual do rath a bhi air dalta spiocaid. 

The step-child of a scrub has a bad lot. 

Cha duine duine 'n a aonar. 

A 7iian alone is no man. 

See note to * Bi 'd thosd ' . 

Al. Cha'n fliiach duine 'n a aonar. 

It is not good that tlie man should be alone. — Gen. ii. 18. 

E?s àvr]p ovòeis àvrjp. — Gr. Un homme nul homme. — Fr. 

One and none is all one. — Eng. 

Compagnia d' uno, compagnia di niuno. — It. 

Cha duine glic a dh' iunseas trie 'an-shocair. 

He is not wise who often tells his trouble. 

Cha duine glic a theid trie do 'n bhaile mhor. 

He is not a wise mail who goes often to the city. 

Cha ghabh fiadh gointe gaoth. 

A wounded deer won't take the wind. 

A wounded deer always takes to the nearest water, instead of 
going, as usual, against the wind. 

Cha ghabh i coisiche, 's cha tig marcaiche 'g a 

She wont take a walker, and a rider wont eome for her. 

She wadna hae the walkers, and the riders gaed hy.— Scot. 

Dean Ramsay, in his Reminiscences, gives this proverb as 
quoted by Miss Becky Monteith, on being asked how she hadn't 
r'.ade a good marriage. 


Cha gliabhar greim air uisge no air teine. 

No hold can he got of water or of fire. 

Cha ghille mur h-umliailt e. 

He is no servant U7iless he obeys. 

Cha ghlac dòrn dùinte seobhag. 

Closed fist tvon't catch hawk. 

Cha ghabhann an dom druidte seabhac. — Ir. 

With emptie hands men may no hawkes lure. — OJiaucer. 

Det er ondt at lokke Hoge med tomme Hctnder. — Dan. 

Met ledige handen is het kwaad havikken vangen. — Dutch. 

Cha ghleidh an dall an rathad mor. 

The blind can't keep the highway. 

This is true only in a metaphorical sense. 

Cha ghleidheadh tu clach 's a' chladacli. 

Yoìò vjouldìi't find a stone on the shore. 

Cha ghliiais bròg no bruidheann an droch bliean-thighe. 

Tramping or talking wont rouse the bad housewife. 

Ascribed to Eoghan a' chinn bhig. See App. III. 

Cha ghruagaichean gu leir air am bi am fait f hein. 

All are not maidens that wear their ovm hair. 

A' are na maidens that wear bare hair. — Scot. 

To drop the snood, or fillet, and cover the head, was formerly, 
both in the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland, the sign of 
marriage or maternity. The old Highland head-dress of women, 
called hreid, was a square of fine linen, pinned round the head, 
with part hanging down behind, like some of the head-dresses in 
Normandy and Brittany. — Armstr. Diet. s.v. Breid. 

Cha le duine fhein a ghàire. 

A mans smile is not his own. 

I have been told by a wise counsellor, that an old man advised 
him always to have his consulting chair set with its back to the 

Cha leannan òinsich e. 

He is no foolish girl's fancy. 

This and the next are generally said ironically of old or unpre- 
possessing ' parties ' , 

Cha leannan baothair i. 

She is no sweetheart for a fool, 

Cha leithne Loch Obha null na nail. 

Loch Awe is no broader across than back. 

Al. Cha lugh' an uchdach' na 'n leathad. Tlie ascent is no less 
than tiie declivity. ' It's as broad as it's long.' 


Cha leig an leisg d' a deòin, duin' air slighe choir am 

If laziness hut have its will, it keeps a man from virtue 

For the credit of htimardty, there are many proverbs of all 
nations directed against the vice of sloth. 

Cha leig duine d' a dheòin a chòir-bhreith le duine 

No man vnllingly parts ivith his birthright. 

Cha leigear a leas pòg a thabhairt do laimh an 

Tiie hand of the fisher need not he kissed. 

Cha leighis aithreachas breamas. 

Repentance wont cure mischief. 

Cha leir dhut a' choill leis na craobhan. 

You can't see the wood for trees. — Eng. 

Cha lion beannachd brù. 

Fair words fill not the belly. — Eng. 

Cha lionnan beannacht bolg. — Ir. 

Muckle crack fills nae sack. — Scot. 

Schoone worden vullen den zak niet. — Dutch. 

See ' Cha dean a' ghlùir.' 

Cha loisg seana chat e f hein. 

An old cat won't burn himself. 

Cha luaithe a sguireas an tinneas diot na thòisicheas 
an tachas ort. 

No sooner does your sickness go than the itch attacks 

Cha luaithe duine gu 'leas na gu 'aimhleas. 

Man goes not faster to his good than to his ruin. 

Cha lugha air Dia deireadh an latha na 'thoiseach. 

Not less in God's sight is the end of the day than the 

This is a fine sentiment, from every point of view, 

Cha lugha an fhoill na 'm freiceadan. 

The treachery is not less than the guard. 

Cha lugha ceann na ceill. 

As mony heads so mony wits. — Scot. 

Quot homines, tot sententise. — Ter. 


Tante teste, tanti cervelli. — It. 

Autant de tètes, autant d' avis.— Fr. 

So many men, so many minds. — Eng. 

Viele Kopfe, viele Sinne. — Germ. 

Zoo veel hoofden, zoo veel zinnen. — Dutch. 

Saa mange Hoveder, saa mange Sind. — Dan. 

Cha laidh na siantan anns na speuran. 

The storms rest not in the shies. 

Ne caldo ne gelo resta mai in cielo. — It. 

Cha mhac mar an t-athair thu. 

You are no son like the father. 

' You'll never fill your father's shoes.' 

Cha mhair a' bhreug ach re seal. 

No lie lives long. 

A lying tongue is but for a moment. — Prov. xii. 19. 

The liar is .short-lived. — Arab. 

Liigen zerschmelzen wie Schnee. — Germ. 

Cha mhair an sionnach air a shior-ruith. 

Reynard can't run for ever. 

Cha mheallar am fear glic ach aon uair. 

The ivise man is deceived but once. 

Twice bitten, shy. — Eng. 

Cha mhillear math ri olc dhiubh. 

The good of them won't be throion away on the bad. 

Not much to choose between them. 

Cha mhinig a bha moll aig sabhal piobaire. 

Seldom is there chaff at a pipers barn. 

Pipers and poets are generally not very good husbandmen, 

Cha mhisd' a' ghealach na coin a bhi 'comhartaich 

The moon is none the worse of the dogs' barking at her. 

Al. Cha dean e coire do'n ghealaich na coin a bhi deileann 

The moon heeds not the barking of dogs. — Eng. 

La luna non cura 1' abbaiar de' cani. — It. 

Was kummert 's den Mond wenn ihn die Hunde anbellen 1— 

Cha mhisde cùil ghlan a rannsachadh. 
A clean corner is not the worse of being searched. 
Cha mhisde gniomh math a dheanamh da uair. 
A good deed is 7wt the ivorse of being done again. 
A'S Kai rp\s TO KoXov. — Gr. 


Cha nihisde sg^ul math 'aithris da uair. 

A good tale is none the worse for heing twice told. — Eng. 

Cha mho air e 's air sean each 'athair. 

He cares no more for him than an old horse for his 

Cha mhol duine 'sheud 's e aige. 

A man doesn't praise his jeioel while he has it. 

Probably not till he loses it. 

Cha mhortar an luchag fo 'n chruaich-f heòir. 

The mouse is not crushed under the hay-stack. 

A wee mouse will creep under a nmckle corn-stack. — Scot. 

Cha 'n abair mi mo bhràthair, ach ris a' mhac a rug 
mo mhàthair. 

/ ivill not say hrother hut to my mother's son. 

Al. Cha phiuthar 'us cha bhràthair ach neach a bheireas a' 

None is sister or brother whom the mother bore not. 

This looks like a relic of a time when birtlirights and blood-ties 
were calculated from the maternal rather than the paternal side, 
of which Mr. Skene has found traces in the early history of our 
country. — Celtic Scotland, Vol. I., p. 252. See also M'Lennan's 
Primitive Marriage, 2d Ed., p. 129. 

Cha 'n aithne dhut dol air d' each gun dol thairis air. 

You camiot mount your horse without going over. 

Cha'n aithnich am fuachd tighead na lùirich. 

The thickest coat of mail wont kee'p out the cold. 

Cha'n aithnicheadh e 'bhròg seach an t-osan. 

He coiddnt tell his shoe from his stocking. 

Very incapable, even beyond pronunciation of ' Bri'sh const-t'- 
sh'n '. 

Cha'n am cadail an cogadh. 

War is no time for sleep. 

Cha 'n ann a' h-uile latha bhios mod aig Mac-an- 

It is not every day that Macintosh holds a court. 

" Toschach or Macintosh of Monyvaird, chamberlain to the 
Earl of Perth, held a regality coiut at Monyvaird : it is com- 
monly reported that he caused one to be hanged each court day, 
in order to make himself famous, and to strike terror into the 
thieves, which severity occasioned the above .saying." — Note by 
Macintosh on this proverb, 1st Ed., p. 13. 

The word mad, the same as the Saxon and Scottish mote, sig- 


nifics a meeting, assembly, court of justice. The Celtic courts of 
justice were held on hills or mounds made for the purpose, of 
which several, called moats, or mutes, are still to be seen in 
Kirkcudbrightshire, and elsewhere. Skene, De verb, signif., 1681, 

f). 93, says, " Quhen King Malcolme the Second gave all his 
andes to the barrones of this realme ; he reteined to himself 
* montem placiti de Scona,' the mute hill of Scone, quhair he 
might hald his courtes, and do justice to his subjects, in deciding 
their pleyes and controversies." — See Jamieson's Did. s. v. Mote. 

Cha 'n ann a' h-uile latha theid Mac-Nèill air 'each. 

It is not every day that MacNeill mounts his horse. 
This refers to MacNeill of Barra, whose rocky island territory 
was more suited for boating than for riding. 

Cha 'n ann ag eigheach as do dheaghaidh, ach — C'àit 
am bheil thu dol ? 

Not calliiig after you, hut — Where are you going ? 

Cha 'n ann air chnothan falamh a f huaradh sid uile. 

It was not for empty nuts all that loas got. 

Cha 'n ann 'am Bòid uile 'tha'n t-oic, — tha cuid deth 
's a' Chumradh bheag làimh ris. 

The mischief is not all in Bute, — there s some in the 
little Cumbrae near it. 

The use of ' uile ' here as an adverb is peculiar. 

Cha'n ann as an adhar a tha e 'toirt a chodach. 

Ifs not out of the air he gets his living. 

Cha 'n ann de 'n ghuin an gàire. 

Smiles do not suit with pain. 

Al. Gàire mu aobhar a' ghuin. 

Cha'n ann de shiolachadh a' phoca-shalainn thu. 

You are not of the seed of the salt-pock. 

Sometimes said to boys sent out in the rain, = You won't melt. 

Cha'n ann gun fhios c' arson a bheireas a' chearc 

lis not for nothing the hen lays an egg. 

The husband knows this to his cost, but the wife also knows 
the value of an egg. 

Cha 'n ann gun fhios c' arson a ni an clamhan fead. 

It's no for nought that the glcd whustles. — Scot. 

Cha'n ann leis a' chiad bhuille 'thuiteas a' chraobh. 

The tree fa's na at the first strake. — Scot. 

One stroke fells not an oak. — Eng. 


Es fàllt keine Eiche vom ersten Streiche.— (Ten?i. 

Al primo colpo non cade I'albero. — It. 

All premier coup ne chet pas I'arbre. — Fr. 

To hfvbpov fxè n'lav TreXeKfiài/ bèv K6(f)TfTai. — Mod. Gr. 

Chan atharraich caraid. gniiis caraid. 

A friend toont change a friencVs countenance. 

Cha'n aotruim' or na 'clmdtlirom. 

Gold is no lighter than its weight. 

Cha'n e 'm beagan an gràn-lagain, ma ghabhas e togail. 

The grain that falls is n/)t trifling if it can be lifted. 

The ' gràn-lagain ' is the grain that falls through the straw 
when it is put on the kiln. 

Cha 'n e 'm bòrd a theirig dhut, ach am beagan 

Not your mould-hoard was done, hut your little land. 

The moukl-board of the old plough was made of wood, like all 
the rest of it, except the share. But the failing of the plough 
was a small matter, compared with want of land to plough. 

Cha'n e an ro-chabhag a's fhearr. 

Great haste is not hest. 

The more haste, the worse speed. — Eng., Scot. 

Hoe meerder haast, hoe minder spoed. — Dutch. 

Qui nimis propere minus prospere.— -Lai. 

Plus on se hate, moins on avance.— i^r. 

Chi va piano, va sano, e va \ —Ital. 

Quien mas corre, menos \uelsL.— Spa7i. 

Cha 'n e ciad sgeul an t-sagairt bu choir a chreidsinn. 

It is not the priest's first story that should he helieved. 

This is probably a very old saying, and it quite accords with 
the strain of the Ossianic ballads narrating iSt. Patrick's attempts 
to convert Ossian. The Celt is not easily convinced of anything 
new, or opposed to his old beliefs, but once he believes, he believes 

Cha'n e cruadhachadh na h-àtha sealltainn foipe. 

Looking under the kiln won't dry the grain. 

Cha'n e dubh a dh'fhuathaicheas, 's cha'n e geal a 

Hate comes not of black, nor love of white. 

Cha 'n e faighinn na feudalach a 's miosa, ach a 
cumail 'an deaghaidh a faotainn. 

The getting of the cattle is not so Jiard, as the keeping 
after getting. 


Cha 'n e gogadh nan ceann a ni an t-iomradh. 

It is not the nodding of heads that does the rowing. 

Cha 'n e 'mhèud a bhòidliicheas na 'gliil' a ghràdh- 

Bulk makes not beauty, nor ivhite loveliness. 

Cha 'n e mo charaid a ni m' ainihleas. 

He is not my friend that hurts me. 

* Candid ' friends are sometimes the worst of enemies. 

Cha'n e 'n latha math nach tigeadh, ach an duine 
dona nach fanadh. 

It is not that the good day came not, hut that the un- 
lucky man loould not wait. 

Cha 'n e na chosnar a ni saibhir ach na chaomhnar. 

Not tvhafs gained but what's saved makes rich. 

A penny hained 's a penny gained.— (Scoi. 

Magnum est vectigal parcimonia. — Cic. 

Cha 'n e na dh' ithear a ni làidir, ach na chnàmhar. 

Not what's ecden but what's digested makes strong. 

Cha'n e na leughar a ni foghluimte ach na chuimhn- 

Not what's read bid what's remembered makes learned. 

Cha'n e rogha nam muc a gheabh fear na faighe. 

It is not the pick of the swine that the beggar gets. 

This saying suggests an Irish origin, pigs having never been 
very common in the Highlands. Ihe practice of going 'air faighe' 
(or ' faoighe,' Ir. ' foighe,') was, however, common to parts of Ire- 
land and of the Highlands, and was known also in the Lowlands 
of Scotland. See Jamieson's Did., sub voce ' Thig.' In the ' gootl 
old times,' when dearth was as common as a bad season, it was 
not considered degrading for respectable people to go foraging 
among their friends for grain, wool. &c. See ' Bidh rud uime.' 
This kind of begging was also practised by or for young couples 
about to marry, or newly married, to help them in setting up 
house. The Highl. Soc. Diet. (1828) says this custom "is still prac- 
tised in many parts of the Highlands and Islands ". MacLeod and 
Deioar's Diet. (1830) also says that it is "still partially practised". 
I think it may now (1880) be said to be obsolete. The practice, 
however, of giving useful presents to young couples is encoui-aged 
in the very highest ranks of modern society. 

Cha 'n e sealbh na faodalach a faotainn. 

The finding of a thing is not the owning of it. 

This is good law as well as good sense. 


Cha'n e 'n tocliradh mor a ni an tiomnadh beairteacli. 
'Tis not the big dowry that makes the wealthy ivill. 
The greatest tochers mak' not the greatest testaments. — Scot. 
He that's neetly when he's married shall be rich when he's 
buried. — Eng. 

Cha 'n 'eil ach a leth-taobh ris. 

He has but a half-side to it. 

Cha 'n 'eil ach rabhadh gun fhuasgladh ann am 
bruadar na h-oidhche. 

The dream of the night is hut a warning unsolved. 

At. Cha taisbeanadh bruadar cadail — A dream is no revelation. 

In the multitude of dreams and many words there are also 
diverse vanities. — Eccl. v. 7. 

Cha'n 'eil ach moran eadar a* bho 's a' mheanbh- 

The cow is only a good deal bigger than the midge. 
A midge is as big as a mountain — a'maist. — Scot. 

Cha 'n 'eil 'adharc cho cruaidh 's a tha 'langan àrd. 
His horn is not so hard, as his roar is loud. 
His bark is waur nor his bite. — Scot. 

Cha'n 'eil agad ach am bogadh, gun bhuidueachas 

You have got but the ducking, and no thanks. 

Cha 'n 'eil agams' ach osain ghearr dheth, ach tha 
triubhas fad agadsa dheth. 

/ have but short hose of it, and you have long trews 
of it. 

Cha 'n 'eil air a' bhiadh ach teannadh ris. 

Eating needs but a beginning. 

Taste, you will eat. — Arab. 

Mangiando viene I'appetito. — It. 

En niangeant I'appetit vient. — Fr. 

Eten is een goed begin. — Du. 

Cha 'n 'eil air duine gun nàire ach duine gun nàire 
'thachairt ris. 

There's nothing for a shameless man but his match to 
meet him. 

Cha 'n eil aire ann gu aire na h-ainnis. 
There is no distress like that of the destitute. 
See ' Eadar an t-euradh 'us aimbeairt '. 


Cha 'n 'eil ait' 'am bi meall nach bi fasgadh mu 

Wherever a height is, there is shelter helow. 

Cha 'n 'eil am bonnach beag bruich f hathasd. 
TJie little bannock is not toasted yet. 

This is a phrase used at hide-and-seek, or blind-man's-buff, 
to announce that the players are not ready yet. 

Cha'n 'eil am maoidheadh daonnan 'an cois a' cliroin. 
Threatening does not always follow mischief. 
It depends on who does it ! 

Cha 'n 'eil an cuid 's an onoir aca. 
They haven't kept their goods and honour. 

Cha 'n 'eil 'an cùil na 'n cuilidh, 
Nach fhaic sùil a' Mhuilich, 
S' cha 'n 'eil 'an àird na 'n iosal, 
Nach làimhsich làmh an Ilich ; 
Na dh' f hàgadh am Muileach, 
Ghrad sgrlobadh an CoUach uaith' e, 
Ach 's mairg a dh' earbadh a chuid no anam, 
Eis a' chealgaire Bharrach. 
There s not in nook or corner, 
What the Mull man's eye won't see ; 
There's not in height or hollow, 
What the Islay man won't handle ; 
What the Mull man would leave, 
The Coll man soon would grasp ; 
But woe to him, his goods or life, 
Who trusts to treacherous Barra man. 
These very calumnioas estimates are, of course, to be taten 
cum grcmo. Other similar sayings are — 

Muileach 'us Ileach 'us deamhan, 

An triuir a 's miosa air an domhain, 

'S miosa a' Muileach na 'n t- Ileach, 

'S miosa an t- Ileach na 'n deamhuin. 

A Mull man, an Islay man, and a devil. 

The three worst in creation, 

The Mull man is worse than the Islay man. 

The Islay man worse than the devil. 
Cha 'n fhaic am Muileach nach sanntaich am Muileach ; na 
shanntaicheas am Muileach goididh an Collach ; 's na ghoideas an 
Collach cuiridh an Tii-isteach am folach. What the Mull man sees 


he covets ; lohat the Mull man covets the Coll man steals; and wJud 
the Coll man steals the Tiree man hides. 

Sliob am Muileach, 'us sgròbaidh e thu ; sgròb am Muileach, 
'us slìòbaidh e thu. — Stroke the Mull man, and he'll scratch you : 
scratch him, and he'll stroke you. 

Ged a bhiodh tu cho caracli ris a Mhiiileach, gheabbar a macb 
thu. — Were you as tricky as the Mull man, you'll be found out. 

All these dreadful imputations remind one of an Eastern say- 
ing, ' The Koords are worse than the Arabs, the Arabs are worse 
than the Yezidees, and the Yezidees are worse than Eblis '. 

Cha 'n 'eil ann ach an t-uan na 's duiblie na 'mhàthair. 
It's merely the lamb blacker than its dam. 

Cha 'n 'eil ann ach an dara duine 'bhreith, 's an 
duine eile 'bhreith 'us àrach. 

07ie man needs but to be born, another to be born arid 

This is an acute observation on the advantages of hereditary 
aristocracy and primogeniture. 

Cha 'n 'eil ann ach fear ri caomhnadh 's fear ri 

One man saves and another spends. 
Cuid an taisgeair aig an caithteair. — Ir. 
Narrow gathered, widely spent. — Eiig., Scot. 

Cha'n 'eil ann ach Iain 'us DònuU ; DònuU cho math 
ri Iain, 's Iain cho math ri Dònull. 

It is plain John and Donald, — Donald as good as 
John, and John as good as Donald. 

Cha 'n 'eil ann ach leth-phlaide gun f huaghal. 

He is but an unhemmed half -blanket. 

Cha 'n 'eil ann ach mogan gun cheann. 

He is a stocking without foot. 

Cha 'n 'eil ann do 'n t-seann amadan. 

No fool to the old fool. — Fiig. 

Chan 'uil amadan air bith is measa na sean- amadan — Ir. 

Nae fules like the auld fules. — Scot. 

The head grey, and no brains yet 1—Eng. 

Je alter der Geek, je schlimmer. — Germ. 

Cha 'n 'eil heart an aghaidh na h-eigin. 

There is no contrivance against necessity. 

'AvdyKf] òvSè 6foì fiaxovrai. — Or. 
Ingens telum necessitas. — Cic. 


Cha 'n 'eil carraicj air nach caochail smth. 

Tliere is no rock where the tide wont change. 

See ' Cha 'n 'eil tuil '. 

Cha'n 'eil Clann Mhic Neacail dioghaltach. 

The Nicolsons (or MacNicols) are not revengeful. 

Cha 'n 'eil cleith air an olc ach gun a dheanamL 

There's no hiding of evil hut not to do it. 

Cha 'n 'eil cù eadar e 's a' chroicli. 

There is not a dog hetwee7i him and the gallows. 

Cha 'n 'eil de dh-uaill air an aodach ach am fear a 
dh' fhaodas a cheannach. 

There s nothing in dress to be 2>f0ud of hut the power 
of huying it. 

Cha 'n 'eil de mhatli air fuighleach a' chait ach a 
thoirt da fhein. 

The cat's leavings are fit only for himself. 

Applied to men who would palm the dregs on others, after 
they have drunk the cream . 

Cha 'n 'eil dearbhadh gun diachainn. 

There is no 'proof vnthout trial. 

Experto crede. — Virgil. 

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.— ^rigr. 

Cha 'n 'eil deathach 'an tigh na h-uiseige. 

Tliere is no smoke in the lark's house. 

This is a pretty saying. The bird of most aspiring and happy 
song has untainted air in its lowly home. 

Cha 'n 'eil deireadh ann a's miosa na'n siolman-coirce. 

Tlure is 7io refuse worse than that of oats. 

' Said of mean gentry.' — Note by Macintosh. 'Corruptio optimi,' 
oats being the staff of life, and men the ' crown of things '. 

Cha 'n 'eil dichuimhne ann a's bòidhche na 'n di- 
chuimhne ghleidhteach. 

The finest for get fulness, forgetting what was kept. 

Cha 'n 'eil do dhuine sona ach a bhreith, 's bidh duine 
dona 'n a lom-ruith. 

The lucky man needs hut to he horn, the unlucky runs 
ever hare. 

Nid rhaid i ddedwydd namyn ei eni. — Welsh. 

Char chaill duine dona a chuid a riamh.— The unlucky man 
never lost his means (because he had none !)— /r. 


The happy man canna be harried. — Scot. 

Give a man luck, and throw him into the sea. — Eng. 

Chan 'eil dorus gun làib, 's tha cuid aig am beil a 

There's a duh at every door, some hae twa. — Scot. 

Cha 'n 'eil duine creachta 's a long aige. 

A man is not ruined ivhile he has his ship. 

Cha 'n 'eil e pisearlach. 

He is no conjurer. 

Cha 'n 'eil eadar an duine glic 's an t-amadan, acli 
gu 'n ceil an duine glic a run, agus gun innis an 
t-amadan e. 

'Twixt the wise man and the fool, all the difference is 
this, that the wise man keeps his counsel, and the fool 
revealeth his. 

The fool's heart is in his mouth, the wise man's tongue is in 
his heart. — Arah. 

Cha 'n 'eil eadar an t-amadan 's an duine glic, acli 
tairgse mhath a ghabhail 'n uair a gheabh e i. 

All the difference between the fool and the wise man is 
in taking a good offer. 

Eptir koma osvinnum raS 1 hug. — After all is done, the unwise 
thinks of a plan. — Icel. 

Quando el necio es acordado, el mercado es ya pasado. — Span. 

que faz o doudo a derradeira, faz o sesudo a primeira. — Port. 

Cha 'n 'eil eadar duine 's tuille fhaighinn, ach na 
th'aige chaitheamh. 

Nothing keeps from getting more, hut the spending of 
your store. 

Cha'n 'eil easlainte gun ìocshlaint', ach cha'n 'eil 
tilleadh air an Aog. 

There's no sickness ivithout scdve, but for Death no 

Contra vim mortis non est medicamen in hortis. — Med. Lat. 

Para todo hay remedio sino para la muerte. — Spari. 

Cha 'n 'eil feill aig na h-lnean ach Dihaoine 's 

There's no holiday for nails but Friday and Sunday. 

Paring the nails on these particular days was held unlucky. — 

See Sir T. Browne's Vulgar Errors, v. 10, and Chambers' Book 
of Days, I. 526, II. 322. 


Cha 'n 'eil feill no faidhir, air nach faighear Maol- 

There's no holiday nor fair, hut Mulrony will he there. 

M. a nickname for a foolish woman who frequents fairs and 
other diversions too much. — Note by Macintosh. 

Cha'n 'eil f hios co as a thàinig na h-eich bhàna 's na 
droch mhnatlian. 

Nohody knows where the white horses and the had wives 
come from. 

Al. Tha 'h-iiile nigheau gu math, ach co as 'tha na droch 
mhnathan a tighinn ? 

All are good maids, but whence come the bad wives ? — Eiuj. 

A! are guid lasses, but where do a' the ill wives come frae Ì — 

Cha 'n 'eil f hios co dhiubh 's f hearr luathas no maille, 
's b' e 'n gille-mirein am pòsadh. 

None can tell which is hetter, haste or tardiness, and 
marriage is a very whirligig. 

See ' Am fear a dh' imich '. 

Cha'n 'eil 'fhios air an uair seach a' mhionaid. 
The hour {of Death) is as unknown as the minute. 
Cha 'n 'eil gach iuchair 's an tlr an crochadh ri aon 

All the keys in the land do not hang from one girdle. 
A! the keys o' the country hang na on ae belt. — Scot. 
Tutte le chiavi non pendono a una cintura. — It. 
Toutes les clefs ne pendent pas à ime ceinture. — Fr. 
Die Schliissel liangen nicht alle an einem Gurtel. —Germ. 

Cha 'n 'eil i beag bòidheach, no mor grànda. 
She is neither small and howiie, nor hig and ugly. 
Chan 'uil si beag deas, no mor grana. — Ir. 
Cha 'n 'eil ian 's a' choille nach bi greis 'n a bhann- 

There is no hird in the wood, hut is at times in toidoio- 

Cha'n 'eil maide cam no direach nach f haigh feum 
'an Eòag. 

There is no stick, straight or crooked, hut will find use 
in Roag. 

Trees are still comparatively scarce in the Hebrides, and this 
saying reminds one of Dr Johnson's reply to Boswell, on being 


consoled with the hope that his oak stick, which he had lost, would 
be recovered. ' No, no, my friend,' said the Doctor, ' it is not to be 
expected that any man in Mull, who has got it, will part with it. 
Consider, sir, the value of such a piece of timber here !' 

Cha 'n 'eil math gun mhilleadh. 
There is no good hut may he marred. 

Cha'n 'eil math nach teirig ach math Dhe. 
All good has an end but the goodness of God.. 
Alle dingen hebben ein ende behalve God. — Da. 

Cha 'n 'eil fealladh ann is mo na gealladh gun choimh- 

There is no greater fraud than the promise unfulfilled. 

Cas a addawo bob peth ac ni chywiro ddin. — Hatefid is he that 
'promises everything and performs nothing. — Welsh^ 

Cha 'n. 'eil mi a' m' sgoileir, 's cha 'n àill learn a 
bhi, mu'n dubhairt a' madadh-ruadh ris a mhadadh- 

Fm not a scholar, and dont ivish to he, as the fox said, 
to the wolf. 

The fox and the wolf,^ walking together, came upon an ass 
quietly grazing. The fox pointed out an inscription on one of his 
hind hooves, and said to his companion, ' Go you and read that ; 
you are a scholar, and I am not '. The wolf, flattered by the re- 
quest, went proudly forward, and coming too close to the ass, got 
knocked on the head, leaving the fox to enjoy their common spoil ! 

A different version of this fable is given in Campbell's West 
Highl. Tales, I. 278. 

Cha 'n 'eil m' earball fo 'chois. 
My tail is not under his foot. 

Cha'n 'eil mo theanga fo d' chrios, — bu mhiosa dhomh- 
sa na 'm bitheadh. 

My tongue is not unde'r your helt, — worse for me if it 

My tongue is na under yir belt. — Scot. 

Cha'n 'eil port a nasgaidh ann; tha Port-na-Eànrigh'nn 
fhèin tastan. 

^riiere is no tune for nothing ; Queensferry itself costs a 

This is a mild attempt at a pun. ' Port' means both 'tune' 
and ' harbour '. 


Cha 'n 'eil port a slieinneas an smeòrach 's an 
Fhaoilleach, nach caoin i mu 'n ruitli an t-Earrach, 

For every song the inavis sings in February, shell lament 
ere Spring he over. 

As lang as the bird sings before Candlemas, lie greets after it. 

Choud as hig y scell greinney stiagh. Laa'l Breeshey, hig y 
sniaghtey my jig laa Boayldyn. As far as the sun shines on St. 
Bride's day, the snow ivill come before Beltane. — Manx. 

Cha 'n 'eil ri dheanamh air an dan, ach an còmhradli 
a chàradh gu caoin. 

The one thing in making of verse is siveetly to order the 

Cha 'n 'eil rud sam bith gun da latha, 's tha tri latha 
aig na h-Oisgean. 

Every thing has two days, and the Ewes have three. 

Three days in the third week of April, Old Style. — See A'pp. IV. 

Cha'n 'eil saoidh air nach laidh leòn. 
No hero is proof against wound. 
Cha'n 'eil thu eòlach air a' ghiullachd each. 
You are not skilled in looking after horses, 

Cha 'n 'eil torn no tulach. 
No cnocan buidhe fiarach, 
Nach bi seal gu subhach, 
'Us seal gu dubhach diarach. 

There is no knoll nor mound, 

Nor hillock dight with flowers, 

Tiiat sometimes is not bright, 

And soinetimes dark with showers. 
Cha 'n 'eil treun ris nach cuirear. 
TJie brave will be tried. 
Cha 'n 'eil tuil air nach tig traoghadh. 
Every food will have an ebb. 
Every tide (flood) hath its ebb. — Eng., Scot. 
Alle vloed heeft zijne ebbe. — Dutch. 

Cha 'n fhac thu bo de d' chrodh fhèin an diugh. 
You saiv no cow of your own to-day. 

Said of one who seems in deshabille and out of humour.— Note 
by Macintosh. 


Cha'n fliaic thu 'm feasd bàrr na coille còmhla. 
The tree tops are never seen 07i a level. 

Cha 'n fhaca mi 'leithid o 'n a chaidh slat 'am chòta. 
/ haven't seen the like since a yard made my coat. 

Cha'n fhacas a' mKuc riamh gun chabhaig oirre. 
The sow was never seen hut in a hurry. 

Cha 'n fhacas fear-faighe riamh gun tombaca. 
A heggar was never seen without tobacco. 

Cha 'n fhada bhuat a chuir thu 'n athais. 

You haven't removed the reproach very far from you. 

Cha 'n fhaigh cù gortach cnàimh, 

A starving dog gets no bone, 

Cha 'n fhaigh fear mabach modh, 

A stammerer wont get respect. 

So mucli for the wickedness of human nature. 

Cha 'n fhaigheadh tu e na 's mo na 'n t-iarunn a 
ghearr d' imleag. 

You should as soon get the hnife that cut your navel as 

Cha 'n fhaigheadh tu so ged a b'e 'n righ bràthair do 

You should not get this were the king your mothers 

Cha 'n fhaighear an de air ais an diugh. 
You can't to-day recall yesterday. 

Cha 'n fhaighear math gun dragh. 
Good is not got without trouble. 

Strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto 
life.— Matth. vii. 14. 

XaXenà rà AcaXd. — Gr. (Solon). 

Cha 'n fhaod duine fas beairteach mur leig a bhean 

A man can't get rich unless his wife cdlow him. 
A man that would thrive must ask his wife's leave Scot. 

Cha 'n fhaodar a' bho a reic 's a bainne òl. 
Ye canna sell the coo and sup the milk. — Scot. 
I cannot eat my cake and have my cake. — Eng. 


Cha 'n fliearr an seud na 'luach. 
Tiie jewel is no hctter than its ivorth. 

The value, sure, of anything 

Is as much money as 'twill bring. — Hudibi-as. 

Cha 'n f hearr an t-urras na 'n t-earras. 
The security is no better than the principal. 

Cha 'n fhearr Soram na Sarum. 

Sheriff is no letter than Shariff. 

This is one of the jingling sayings, of which the Gael were 
rather fond, caring sometimes more for sound than for sense. 
Here, indeed, there is an obvious meaning, if I have rightly ren- 
dered it, indicating that aversion to the Saxon office of Sheriff, 
which Chalmers, in his Caledonia, several times refers to. 

Similar jingling savings are, ' Cha 'n fhearr singeas na sangas,' 
and ' Cha 'n fhearr an gille siar na 'n gille sear '. They are not 
wholly meaningless, however, being much of the same imjiort as 
Pope's now classic comparison ' 'twixt Tweedledum and Tweed- 
ledee '. 

Cha 'n fheòil sganihan, 's cha bhainne blàthach. 
Lights are not meat, nor buttermilk milk. 

Cha 'n fheòil grùthan, 's cha shùghan lagan. 
Liver is not meat, nor bran-juice sowens. 

Cha 'n fheum an ti a shealbhaicheas an toradh am 
blàth a mhilleadh. 

He that would enjoy the fruit must not sjjoil the 

Cha 'n fhiach bròn a ghnàth, 's cha 'n fhiach ceòl a 

Sorrow always is not good, nor is mirth cdvjays. 

To everything there is a season . . a time to weep, and 
a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance. — 
EccL. iii. 1, 4. 

Cha'n fhiach cuirm gun a còmhradL 

A feast is worth nothing ivithout its conversation. 
It is creditable to our Celtic ancestors that in their view eating 
and drinkmg were not the chief charms of a dinner. 

Cha'n fhiach duiue gun neart gun innleachd. 

A man with neither strength nor art is ivorth nothing. 

Cha'n fhiach e 'bhi 'deanamh da latha dheth. 
It's not worth making two days of it. 


Cha'n fhiacli fear furachail Foghar. 
A vian that's very watchful docsnt deserve a harvest. 
This does not seem good doctrine, but it is meant that he should 
be too busy to have time for spying about anxiously. 

Clia 'n fhiach sagart gun chleireach. 
A priest is nothing tvithout a clerk. 

Cha dual sagart gan chleireach, a's cha dual Domhnach gan 
aifrionn (Sundmj without mass). — Ir. 

Cha 'n fhiach sgeul gun urramn, 
A tale unvouched is ivorth nothing. 
Ni fiù sgèul gan ughdar èisdeachd.— /r. 

Cha 'n fhiach tigh mor gun straighlich, 
A great house without noise is worth nothing. 
The Celtic idea of a Chiefs house of the right sort is thus 
expressed by Mary MacLeod in ' An TaUa bu ghnàth le Mac- 

Tigh mor macnusach, meaghrach, 
Nam macan 's nam maighdean, 
Far 'm bu tartarach gleadhraich nan corn. 

Great house gay and cheery, 
With young men and maidens, 
Where loud was the clatter of horns. 

Cha 'n fhiosrach, mur feòraich. 

Nothing ask, nothing learn. 

FroSr er hverr fregnviss. Who asks will become learned. — Icel. 

Cha 'n fhuiling am hroc 'n a shloc ach e fhein. 
The badger in his hole no company can thole. 
Cha'n fhuiling an onoir clùd. 
Honour can't bear patching. 

Cha'n fhuilig ceann carrach fuachd no teas. 

A scabby head can't bear cold or heed. 

Een schurft hoofd ontziet de kam (fears the comb). — Dutch. 

Cha'n fhuirich muir ri uallach. 

The sea won't wait for a load. 

See * Cha stad '. 

Cha 'n i 'bho 's àirde gèum a's mò bainne. 

The loudest loiving coiv is not the best milker. 

Cha 'n iad na ro-chleirich a's fhearr. 

TJie very learned are not the best. 

Merus granunaticus, merus asinus.— ilfed. Lat. 


A mere scholar is a mere ass. — Enrj. 
The greatest clerks be not the wisest men. — Chaucer. 
Les grands clercs ne sont pas le plus fins. — Fr. 
De geleerdsten zijn de wijsten niet. — Du. 

Cha 'n iochd learn cnead mo leas-mliathar. 
I pity not my stepmother's sigh. 

Cha 'n ioghnadh an clamhan a dh'fhalbh le aon isean 
circe doille. 

No ivonder if the kite take a Mind hens only 

Cha 'n ioghnadh boladh an sgadain a bhi de 'n t-soith- 
each 's am Ì)ì e. 

It's no wonder that the herring vessel smells of 

It's but kindly (i.e., natural) that the pock savour of the her- 
ring. — Scot. 

La caque sent toujours le hareng.— i^r. 

Soon after Henry of Navarre had joined the Church of Eonie, 
he was one day out hvmting, and, leaving his attendants behind, 
came to an inn, and sat down to dinner with a company of mer- 
chants, to whom he was unknown. Their talk naturally turned 
on the king's conversion. ' Ne parlous pas de cela,' said one, a 
dealer in pigs, ' la caque sent toujours le hareng.' The king said 
nothing, till his retinue came in, when the unfortunate merchant 
discovered his hetise. ' Bon homme,' said the king, clapping him 
on the shoulder, ' la caque sent toujours le hareng, mais c'est en 
votre endroit, et non pas au mien. Je suis, Dieu merci, bon 
Catholique, mais vous gardez encore du vieux levain de la Ligue.' 
Mery's Hist, des Proverbes, II. 322. 

The translation of the above in the 2d Ed. of Macintosh is, 'No 
wonder that the cask smells of the herring in which they are '. 

Cha 'n ioghnadh duine dall 

A dhol le allt no le creig ; 

Ach thusa do 'n leir a' choir, 

'S nach dean le d' dheòin d'i ach beag. 

JSfo wonder is when blind men fall, 
Over rock or into river ; 
But strange art thou who see'st the good, 
And willingly hast done it never. 

Cha 'n ionann a fhreagras da latha margaidh. 
Ttvo days don't suit eqiially for market. 


Cha 'n ionann do fhear na neasgaid, agus do fliear 
'g a fàsgadh. 

It's different with the vmn of the hoil, and the man that 
squeezes it. 

Cha 'n ionann fear air mhisg 's fear air uisge. 

The drunk man and the water-drinker differ. 

The only merit of this truism is the clink of the words, 

Cha 'n ionann iùl do dhithis, no slighe do thriiiir. 

Two men will take diverse roads, and three tvill go 
different ways. 

Raad ta jees ta reih (roghainn),a.s raad ta troor ta teij(taghadh). 
Where two go tliere is choice, lohere three go there is picking. — Manx. 

Cha'n ionann sgeul a' dol do'n bhaile mhor 's a' 
tighinn dachaidh. 

It's a different story, going to town, and eoming hacU. 
See ' Cha duine glic,' and ' Am fear a theid do 'n tigh mhor.' 

Cha 'n ionann sgeul a bhios air a' chreich 's air an 

The foray and the pursuit have different tales to tell. 
This and the next but one are purely Highland. 

Cha 'n ionann togradh do dhuine, a' dol a dh' iarraidh 
mnatha, 's 'g a cur dhachaidh. 

Very different is a inans desire, going for his wife and 
sending her home. 

Cha 'n olc a' chreach as an gleidhear a leth. 

It's not a had foray ivhere the half is kept. 

Cha 'n or a' h-uile rud buidhe, 's cha 'n uibhean a' 
h-uile rud ban. 

All that's yelloio is not gold, and all white things are 
not eggs. 

The second half of this proverb is tacked on for the sake of 
assonance and alliteration. The first half is nearly in the same 
words in all European languages. The only difference in the 
Gaelic version is the use of the phrase ' the yellow,' instead of 
'what glitters' or ' shines,' which occurs in all the rest. The Gaelic 
phrase seems the more descrijDtive. 

Cha 'n òrdugh bat aig bàillidh. 
A hailiff's staff is not an order. 

This is an expression of the Celtic aversion to mere display of 
authority without the recognised right. 


Cha 'n uaisle duine na 'cheaird. 
No man is above his trade. 

He that thinks his business below him will always be above 
it. — Eng. Schanie dich cleines Handwerks nicht. — Germ. 

Cha 'n iiaisle mac righ na 'chuideaclid. 
A king's son is no nobler tha?i his coiivpany. 
Oha'n uaisle mac righ na 'chuid (his food).— Ir. 
An Ulster chief of the O'Neills was found by a bard in the act 
of toasting a cake. He looked rather ashamed, on which the bard 
addressed him — 

Is tu-sa an tighearna O'Neill, 

A's mise mac t-sèin Mhic Cuirc, 

Tiontamaois a t-sudog air aon, 

Cha 'n uaisle mac righ na a chuid. 

Thou art the chief O'Neill, 
And I, son of old MacCork, 
In turning the cake xve are one. 
No king's son's above his food. 

Ulster Journ. of Arch., Vol. VI., p. 260. 

Cha'n uisge ach a tuatli, 's cha turadh buan ach a 

No rain but from the north, no long dry loeather but 
from the south. 

This saying, which comes from Tiree, is contrary to the expe- 
rience of most other places. 

Cha 'n urramn domh a' mliin itheadh, 's an teine 

/ caniiot eat the meal and blotv the fire. 

Al. Cha dean mi itheadh na mine, 'us seideadh an teine. 

Cha d-tig le duine a bheith ag ithe mine, a's a feadalaigh air 
a bhall (whistling at the same time). — Ir. 

He canna hand meal in his mouth and blaw. — Scot. 

Niemand kann zugleich blasen und schlucken. — Germ. 

Met vollen mond is 't kwaad blazen. - Butch. 

Soplar y sorber no puede junto ser. — Span. 

Cha 'n urrainn domh 'h-eigheach agus a h-iomradh. 

/ cannot raise the boat-song and row her. 

The ' iorram,' or boat-song, was generally raised by the man at 
the helm, if able, and chanted or shouted with great vigour, the 
rowers joining in the chorus. ' Suidheam air stiiiir, 's eigheam 
Creagag — Let me sit at the helm, and shout Creagag.' ' Creagag 
Mhic-lain-Ic-Shèumais' was a favourite iorram. 


Cha nàr do dhuine bean 'g a dhiùltadli, bàta 'g a 
fhà,<Tail, no lair 'g a thilgeadh. 

It is no shame to a man to he refused hy a icoman, left 
hy a hoat, or throtvn hy a mare. 

Cha nigh na tha dh' iiisge 's a' mhuir ar càirdeas. 

All the water in the sea tvon't wash out our kinsldp. 

This is intensely Highland, as is the use of the same word, 
* càirdeas,' for ' friendship ' and ' kinship '. 

Cha phàigheadh a' chain a bh'aig Pàdruig air Eirinn e. 

St. Patrick's tribute from Ireland would not -pay it. 

* Dh 'itheadh (or 'dh'òladh') e 'chain a bh' aig Pàdruig air 
Eirinn' — He loould eat (or drink) Patrick's tribute from Ireland, is 
another saying in reference to this tax, applied to a great eater or 
drinker. According to Keating (O'Connor's tr., p. 333), Aengus 
of Ulster obliged himself and his successors to deliver 500 cows, 
500 bars of iron, 500 shirts, 500 mantles, and 500 sheep, to the 
convents and religious houses founded by St. Patrick in Ulster, 
instead of three pennies per head for every person baptized. This, 
probably, was the ' Cain' referred to in the above sayings. 

Cha rachadh tu cho deas air mo ghnothach-sa. 

You tvoiddn't go so fast on my husiness. 

Cha reic e 'chearc ris an latha fhliuch. 

He'll no sell his hen on a rainy day. — Scot. 

Cha n-diolaidh si a cearc a riamh sa la fhliuch.— Jr. 

Cha riaraich briathrachas bàs. 

Words will not satisfy death. 

Cha robh air dheireadh nach robh air thoiseach, ach 
fear na droch-mhnatha ; 's bhiodh am fear sin fhein ann 
a' dol do'n mhuileann. 

None was ever last that was not first, except the ill- 
mated man ; and he too would he first going to the mill. 

Because his house would be Hi-kept. 

Cha robh balg falamh riamh sàthach. 

Empty hag was never satisfied.. 

Macintosh translates this in tlae sense of Prov. xxx. 16. 

Cha robh balach riamh de Chloinn-Ghriogair, no caile 
de Chloinn-an-Aba. 

Tliere never was a clown of the Macgregors, nor a hussy 
of the Macnahs. 

The INIacgregors trace their descent from King Alpin, and 
their motto is ' 'S rioghail mo dhream,' My line is royal. The 


Macnabs are a branch of that great clan. The above saying, 
unlike most of those referring to clans, was not invented by an 

Cha robli bàs fir, gun gliràs fir. 

One 7nan's death is grace to another. 

See ' An ni 'ni subhach.' 

Ni ddaw drwg i un, na ddaw da i ara'l — III comes not to one, 
without good to another. — Welsh. 

Baase y derrey voddey, grayse y voddey elley — One dog's death, 
another dog's grace. — Manx. 

Cha robh briagach nacli robh bradach. 

Nooie lied that wotdd not steal. 

Very shrewd Ethics. He that can confound Yea and Nay 
cannot be trusted to respect Meum and Tuum. Truthfulness has, 
in fact, been laid down by some writers as the basis of all Virtue, 
and its opposite of all Vice. 

Cha robh brù mhor riamh 'n a seise mhath. 

Big helly vms never good mate. 

Al. Cha robh làmh mhor riamh aig caolan gionach— Grecc/i/ gid 
never had large hand. 

Cha robh bolg mòr fial a riamh — Big helly was never bountiful. 
— It. 

Cha robh call mor gun bhuinig bhig. 

TJiere was never great loss without a little gain. 

Cha robh cam nach robh crosda. 
The one-eyed was ever cross. 

Cha robh caraid riamh aig duine bochd. 

The poor are ever friendless. 

The poor is hated even of his own neighbour. — Prov. xiv. 20. 

In contradiction to this, those who have had any experience 
among our poor know that their kindness to one another is often 
very great, and much beyond that of the rich. 

Cha robh coille riamh gun chrionaich, no linn gun 

Never was wood without dry hrushtvood, nor hrood 
without addle-egg. 

Al. Cha robh gur gun ghoirein. 

Chan 'nil coill air bith gan a losgadh fèin de chrionnlach inuti 
— (as much dry wood as would burn it). — Ir. 

Cha robh coimheart mor gun choimheart beag. 
Great was never loithout small comparison. 


Cha robh cùil an amliaruis riamh glan. 

The suspicious corner loas never clean. 

Cha robh dithis riamh a' facladh teine, nach do las 

Tico were never makiiig a fire, that didn't light between 

See ' Cha do chord ', 

There is a neat double meaning here, the suggestion being that 
the two ^\'ould quarrel about it. Two seldom agree as to the best 
way of making a fire. 

Cha robh do chuid riamh air chall. 

Your portion was never amissing. 

Cha robh duine riamh gun da latha, ach am fear gun 
lath' idir. 

No man was ever without tivo days hut the man who 
had none at all. 

No man ever lived without some %'icissitude. 

Cha robh duine riamh gun lochd. 

Man was never without fault. 

Al. Tha 'chron fhein air a h-uile fear — Every man has his own 

Odid ddyn teg dianaf — Scarcely a comely man faultless. — Welsh. 

Man is the son of imperfection. — Arab. 

Humanum est errare. — Lat. Far er vamma vaui'. — Icel. 

Cha robh gaoth mhor riamh gun bheagan uisge. 

There never was a high ivind vjithout so/ne rain. 

Cha robh math no olc riamh gun mhnathan uime. 

There vjas never good or ill but loonun had to do ivith. 

Few of the proverbs in other languages attribute any influence 
to women except for mischief. This is not only more chivalrous, 
but more true. 

Cha robh meadhail mhor riamh, gun dubh-bhròn 'n a 

There never was a hurst of joy, that deep grief did not 

Al. Cha'n fhacas riamh meaghar mor nach robh 'n a dheigh 

After joy comes annoy. — Scot. 

Sadness and gladness succeed each other. — Enrj. 

These violent delights have violent ends. — Rom. cmdJul., II. 6. 

Extrema gaudii luctus occupat. — ZaL 

M koma mein eptir niunuS.— /ceZ. 


Clia robli reithe leathann liatli riabh reamhar. 
A hroad gray ram was never fat. 

Cha robh reothairt riamh 'n a h-àirde, ach Dimàirt 's 

Spring-tide never was at height, save on Tuesday or on 

I can neither confirm nor contradict tliis. 

Cha robh Samhradh riamh gun ghrian ; 
Cha robh Geamhradh riamh gun sneachd ; 
Cha robh NoUaig mhor gun fheòil ; 
No bean òg le 'deòin gun fhear. 

Summer ne'er was without sun ; 
Winter never ioithout snoiv ; 
Christmas never without flesh ; 
Nor unlling ivoman ivithout man. 

Cha robh saoidh gun choimeas. 

Peerless hero never ivas. 

Cha robh 'Seo' riamh gun mhaoidheadh, ach 's fliearr a 
mhaoidheadh na 'dhibreadh. 

' Take if was never without grudge; hut letter grudged 
than not at all. 

Cha robh slibist gun tubaist. 

Slips and slovens go together. 

See ' Bidh na tubaistean,' and'Istrom na tubaistean.' 

Cha robh sgeulach nach robh breugach. 

Tale-tellers laill tell lies. 

Al. Cha robh ceileach nach robh breugach. — Tattlers will he 
telling lies. ' Ceileach,' a person addicted to going ' air chèilidh,' 
making calls and gossiping. 

Cha robh thu a's tigh an uair a chaidh an ciall a 

Yoic vjere not in when sense urns being shared. 

Cha robh se air iaghail, 'n uair a bhi an chiall da roinn. — Ir. 

Cha robh thu riamh air feill eile. 

That tvas aye your traffic. 

Lit. You were never at any other fair. 

Cha robh thu riamh gun do bhiadh 's a' mhuileann. 
You were never ivithout your food in the mill. 


Clia niig am beagan fuilt air cùl a' chinn 's air clàr an 

The scanty hair won't cover the hack and front. 
Some men try it, notwitlistanding ! 

Cha ruig fuachd air airgiod-iomairt. 

Gaming-money wont get cold. 

Gaming for money was never much practised in the Highlands, 
one reason being that money was scarce in days of okl. One of 
our historians has even attributed the noble contempt shown for 
the price offered for Prince Charley's head to simple ignorance 
of the value of cash, and incapacity to understand the meaning of 
£30,000 ! But, though among the class of people who produced 
most of our Gaelic proverbs, coin of any kind was seldom seen, 
there is sufficient evidence that not only was gaming with dice and 
cards practised in the Highlands very long ago, but that so intel- 
lectual a game as chess was well known to the Scoto-Irish Celts so 
far back as the time of Fingal and CuchuUin, whensoever that 
may have been. Even that game was sometimes played for high 
stakes, not in money, but in horses, mantles, and armlets of silver. 
The Norsemen also were very much given to gaming. 

Cha sgàin màthair leinibh. 
Bairn's mother hursts never. — Scot. 

' Because,' says Kelly, ' she will keep meat out of her own mouth 
to put into theirs.' 

Cha sgal cù roimh chnàimh. 

A dog tcon't howl at a hone. 

A dog winna yowl if ye fell him wi' a bane. — Scot. 

Non si offende mai cane gettandogli le ossa. — /{. 

Cha sgaoilear tigh an arain. 

Bread's house skailed never. — Scot. 

The identity of 'sgaoil' and ' skail' will be noted here. Kelly 
interprets this proverb as meaning that, while people have the 
staff of life, they need not give over housekeeping. Hislop, on 
the other hand, explains it as meaning that a hospitable house 
never wants visitors. 

Cha sgeith bo fiar. 

A cow ivon't vomit grass. 

Wise creatures won't quarrel with their bread and butter. 

Cha sgèul-rùin e, 's fios aig triùir air. 

It's no secret, if three know it. 

Al. ' 'S triùir 'g a chluintinn' — if thee hear it. An rud 'bhios 
eadar triùir, cha'n fhiùgh e 'chleith— What three know is not worth 

Ni sgèul ruin e, o chluirmeas triuir e. — Ir. 


Skeeal edclyr jees, skeeal dyn insh (gun innseadh) ; skeeal eddyr 
tree, te ersooyl (tha e air siuhhal). — Manx. 

Nid cyfrinach ond rhwng — No secret hut Hu-ixt tvjo. — Welsh. 

Three may keep counsel, if twa be awa. — Scot. 

Tre lo sanno, tutti lo sanno. — It. 

Puridad de dos, puridad de Dios : puridad de tres, de todos es. 
— Span. 

Secret de deux, secret de Dieu : secret de trois, secret de tous. 

]?jò3 veit ef l^rir 'ro — People know, if three are.—Icel. 

Was drei wissen, erfahren bald dreiszig. — Germ. 

Clia shaltair duin' air a phiseach. 
Ko man will trample on his luck. 

Cha shaothair ba-laoigh do shaothair, no deagli gliamli- 

Your lahour is not that of a calving covj, nor of a 
good farrow cow. 

Cha sliean de m' shean, 's cha 'n òg de m' òige thu. 

You are not an old one of my old ones, nor a young 
one of my youth. 

Cha sheas a' bhriag ach air a leth-chois. 

A lie stands on hut one leg. 

Al. Cha 'n 'eil casan aig briagan, ach tha sgiathan aig tuaileas. 

A lie has no legs, but a scandal has ivings. — Eng. 

Truth stands aye without a prop.— Scof. 

Bugie hanno corte le gambe. — It. La mentira tiene cortas las 
piernas. — Span. Liigen haben kurze Beine. — Germ. — Lies have 
short legs. 

These sayings are true enough, in the sense that lies have no 
stability, and are easily overtaken. But not less true is the Welsh 
saying, Goreu cerddedydd, gau — The best traveller is a lie. 

Cha sheas poca falamh. 

An empty hag cannot stand upright. — Eng. 

Cha seasann sac falamh. — Ir. 

Sacco vuoto non sta ritto. — It. 

Ein leerer Sack steht nicht aufrecht. — Germ. 

Cha shin duine 'chas ach mar a ruigeas 'aodach. 
A man will stretch his foot no farther tluin his clothes 

Kara to TroTrXu/xa, naX twv ttoÒcòv to ^arrXco^a — According to the 
blanket must the feet stretch. — Mod. Gr. . 

Cha shou'bh triublias a chur air cat. 
It is not easy to put trews on a cat. 


Cha sliuaicheantas còrr air cladacli. 
A heron on the shore is not peculiar. 
Lit. Not an ensign, or escutcheon. 

Cha stad na tràithean, 's cha 'n 'eil bàigh aig seol- 

Tiììie won't wait, nor tide shoiv mercy. 

Time and tide tarry for no man. — Eng. 

Time and tide for nae man bide. — S:Cot. 

Zeit Ebbe und Fhith warten auf Niemand. — G&rm. 

Tiempo ni hora no se ata con soga. — &fan. 

Cha teich ach cladhaire, 's cha'n fhuirich ach 

None hut a craven will fiy, and none hut a sneak ivill 

Cha teich an earba gus am faic. 
The roe won't fiy till she sees you. 

Cha teid a' bhriag na 's fhaide na 'n craicionn. 
A lie tvorit pierce hcyond the shiii. 

Cha teid an sionnach na 's fhaide na bheir a chasan e. 
The fox will go no farther than his feet will carry 

Cha teid anam a mac bodaich le mùiseig. 
Threats won't drive the life out of a churl's son. 
Ni lladd gogyfaddaw— T/irea^s worCt kill. — Welsh. 
Threatened folks live long. — Eng., Scot. 

Cha teid àrdan nam ban fo 'n ùir. 

The pride of ivomen ivill never he laid in the dust. 

Cha teid bòidhchead na 's doimhne nan craicionn. 
Beauty is hut skin deep. — Fng. 

Cha teid dad 's an dòrn dùinte: ' Mur teid, cha tig as/ 
arsa moisean. 

Nothing gets into the closed fist : ' Nor out of it,' said 
the sci'uh. 

Cha teid e timchioll a' phris leis. 
He won't go about the hush with it. 

Cha deachaidh se air sgath an tiiir leis — He didn't go hehind tlie 
bush with it. — Ir. 


Cha tèid fiach air bial dùinte, 's cha tog balbhan fianuis. 

Shut mouth incurs no debt, and dumb men give no 

Al. Cha toirear balbli gu mod— jf7ie dumb don't get into Court. 

Eepentance for silence is better than repentance for speech. 
— Arab. 

Nnlli tacuisse nocet, nocet esse locutam. — Dion. Cato. 

Be checked for silence, but never taxed for speech. — All's Well 
that ends Well, I. 1. 

Cha tèid plàsd air bagairt. 

A threat needs no plaster. 

Cha teid pòsadh thair muir. 

Marriage goes not beyond sea. 

I understand this saying is meant to be jocular, in allusion 
probably to the fact that sailors have been known to have wives 
in more than one port. 

Cha teid stad ort na 's mo na air eas na h-aimhne. 

You no more pause than the vxderfall. 

Cha tig a nuas an ni nach 'eil shuas. 

Nothing can come doivn that is not up. 

Cha tig a soitheach le goc ach an deoch a bhios ann. 

A vessel with a cock lets out no liquor but what's in. 

Cha tig air a' choluinn nach f haodar fhulang. 

Nothing comes on the body that cant be borne. 

Cha tig am bàs gun leisgeul. 

Death comes not without excuse. 

Al. ' Gun fhios carson' — Without knowing why. 

Cha daink rieau yn baase gyn lestal. — Manx. 

Cha d-tig an bàs gan adhbhar. — Ir. 

Addfed angeu i \iQn— Death is ripe for the old. — Welsh. 

Cha tig am bàs gus an tig an t-àm. 

Death comes not till the time comes. 

Death's day is doom's day. — Eng. 

Ekki kemr ofeigum i hel— Fom can't kill an 'unfey' man. 
— Icel. 

De dood kent geen' abnanak — Death keeps no almanack. — 
Dutch. Eng. 

Cha tig an caitheamh crionnta ach do shiol nam 

Tlie penurious spending suits only the mean sort. 

This saying must have been uttered by a person of the ' superior' 


Cha tig an còta glas clio math do na h-uile fear. 

Tlie gray coat becomes not every man alike. 

Macintosh says, ' King James the V's wearing a gray coat 
when in disguise might probably give rise to this saying.' 

Al. ' An còta fad'— the long coat. 

Luthers Schuhe sind nicht jedem Dorfpfarrer gerecht— iui/ier's 
shoes doji't fit every country parson. — Gerr)i. 

Cha tig an crodh uile cho math do 'n hhiiaile. 
All the cows dont come equally well to the fold. 

Cha tig an Fheill-Andrais gu ceann bliadhna tuilleadh 

St. Andrews Day won't come to us for another year. 

Christmas comes but once a year. — Eng. 

St. Andrew's Day, 30th Nov., is the festival of the patron 
saint of Scotland, and as such, holds its proper place in the 
esteem of Scotchmen and in the ecclesiastical calendar. It 
regulates, in fact, the beginning and end of the ecclesiastical year. 
See Chambers's Book of Days, ÌI. 636. 

Cha tig an latha 's cha chi'^.r an tràth a chi thu sin. 
The day will never come, nor the evening darken, when 
you'll see that. 

Cha tig an t-anabarr. 
Too much luver comes. 

Cha tig as a' phoit ach an toit a bhios innte. 
Nothing comes out of the pot hut the smoke that's in it. 

Cha tig air crannaibh gu 'n tig Càisg. 
Till Easter come no tree will hloom. 

Cha tig de 'n àtha ach am bàrr a th' oirre. 

You can't take off the kiln hut the grain that's on it. 

Cha tig fiacaill dhut ach na thàinig. 
You'll get no more teeth than you hc(ve, 

Cha tig fuachd gu Earrach, 
Cruaidh-chàs, no droch cheannach. 

Cold comes not until Spring, 
Hardship and had marketing. 
Al. Cha tig fuachd gu 'n tig Earrach, 

Le gaoith tuath 's le cruaidh ghaillionn. 
Cold comes not until Spring 
North wÌ7ul and tempest bring. 


Clia tig Geamliradh gu cùl Calluinn, no Earracli gu 
CÙ1 Flieill Pàruig. 

Winter comes not till after New Year, nor Spring till 
after St. Patrick's Day. 

St. Patrick's day is 17th March. 

As the day lengthens, the cold strengthens. — Eng.-Scot. 
Wenn die Tage beginnen zu langen, 
Dannkommterst der Winter gegangen. — Gervi. 

Jours croissants, froids cuisants. — Fr. 

Cha tig muir mhor troimh 'n chaolas chumhanu. 

A great sea comes 7iot through a narrow strait. 

Cha tig olc a teine ach ubli glas na feannaig. 

Nothing evil will come out of the fire hut the eroidsgray 


Al. ' Ach feòil na glas fheannaig' — the gray crow's flesh. 

There is a strange story in Rannoch about the great Michael 
Scott, to account for this saying. It is, that fearing his wife, to 
whom he had taught the Black Art, would excel him in it, he 
killed her by means of crows' eggs heated in the fire and put into 
her arm-pits, as the only thing against which no counter-enchant- 
ment could prevail I 

Cha tig o'n mhuic ach uircein. 

From the sow comes hut a little pig. 

Cha tig piseach air duine a bheir cat thar allt. 

He will have no luck who takes a cat across a stream. 

Cha tig rath a ràiteachas, no math a milleadh. 

No luck comes of idle talk, nor good of sjyoiling. 

Cha tig smaointean glan a cridhe salach. 

Clean thoughts come not from a. foul heart. 

How can ye, being evil, speak good things ?— Matth. xii. 34. 

Cha tig snath mo mhnà-sa air snath do mhnà-sa. 

My vnfes thread won't match your wife's, 

Cha tigear bho 'n ghàbhadh trie. 

Jeopardy is not often escaped from. 

Cha toill iarrtas achmhasan. 

Asking merits not reproof. 

Cha toir a' bho do'n laogh ach na th' aice. 

The cow can give her calf only what she has. 

Cha toir a' bhòidhchead goil air a' phoit. 

Beauty won't hoil the pot. 

Al. Cha ghoil an uaisle '-^h-oii— Gentility won't hoil the pot. 


BeaiTty will buy no beef. — Eng. 

Send yir gentle bluid to the market, and see what it -wiU bring. 
— Scot. 

Cha toir am fitheach an t-siiil dha 'isean fhein. 
TJie raven won't give the eye to his oicn chicken. 
Cha toir a' ghaoth dliiot, ge teann leat a sheideas; 
The tvind won't strip you, though it bloiv hard. 
This seems to be founded on the old story of the traveller and 
his cloak. 

Cha toir dnine 'chall d' a charaid. 

Mo man gives his friend his loss. 

Cha toir duine rath air eigin, 's gheabhar e gun eigin 

A man cannot force his lot, and without stress it may 
he got. 

See ' Bheir duine beath' air eigin,' and ' Thig ri latha.' 

Cha toir muir no monadh a chuid o dhuine sona ; 's 
cha ghleidh duine don' an t-allt. 

Neither main nor moor can make the lucky poor; hut 
the unlucky man can't keep to the hum. 

See ' Cha 'n 'eil air an duine sona.' 

Cha toir thu 'n aire gus an teid am bior 's an t-sùil. 

You loont take heed till the prick is in the eye. 

Cha toirear o 'n chat ach a chraicionn. 

You can take nothing from the cat hut its skin. 

Cre yiow jeh 'n chayt agh y chrackan. — Manx, 

Man faaer ei meer af Rfeven end Baelgen— 0?ie can't take more, 
ojf the fox than his skin. — Dan. 

Cha treabh gach bliadlma d' a cheile. 

Fach year's ploughing is for itself 

Cha truagh learn cnead mo mhàthar-cèile. 

I don't pity my mother-in-laio's sigh. 

The sayings of all nations about mothers-in-law are of the same 
wicked kind. See ' Is math a mhàthair-chèil' an fhòid,' and 
' Mar dhobhran.' One of the liveliest is an Ulster rhyme quoted 
by Mr Kelly (Walter K.) in his admirable little book, Proverbs of 
all Nations (London, 1859): — 

Of all the ould women that ever I saw, 
Sweet bad luck to my mother-in-law ! 

Cha truagh leam cù 's marag m' a amhaich. 

/ don't pity a dog with a pudding round his neck. 


Clia tugadh an donas an car as. 

The devil couldn't cheat him. 

Cha tugadh 'an Cille-mo-cheallaig breitli 'bu chlaoine. 

No worse judgment was given in Kilmacheallag . 

The parish of Kihuacheallag is as difficult to find out as the 
town of Weissnichtwo. The story is that a man was tried there 
by a jury of women, for stealing a horse, and was acquitted, while 
the horse was condemned to be hanged ! The man had been tried 
before for stealing the same horse, and got off, and the poor horse 
liked him so well, that he ran away from his proper master and 
came back to the thief. 

This story is referred to by the bard Iain Lorn, as an illustra- 
tion of his own iniquitous treatment by the murderer of young 
Keppoch. In his ' Oran do Shiol Dughaill' he says, 
Cleas na linne nach maireann, 
'Bha 'n sgir' Chill'-ma-cheallaig, 
'N uair a dhit iad an gearran 's a mhòd. 

Lagh cho cearr 's a bha 'm Breatunn, 

'Riun am mearleach a sheasamh, 

'Bhi 'g a thearnadh o leadairt nan cord. 

' Like the people of old, in the parish of Kilmacheallag, who 
sentenced the horse at the court ; as bad law as ever was in Bri- 
tain, which upheld the thief, and saved him from the mangling 
of ropes.' 

See MacKenzie's Sar Obair nam Bard Gaelach, p. 38, and 
Campbell's TVest H. Tales, II. 372, 381. 

Cha tugadh i deirc do 'n dall air muin a' chrùbaich. 

She woiddn't give alms to the blind on the cripple's hack. 

Cha tugadh ua h-eich an casan as. 

The horses couldn't take their feet out of it. 

Said of very thick porridge, &c. 

Cha tuig an sàthach an seang : 's mairg a bhiodh 'n a 
thràill d' a bhroinn. 

llie full man understands not the empty: ill for him 
vjho is the slave of his belly. 

At. ' Cha 'n fhidir' — considers not. 

Ni thuigeann an sàthach an seang. — Ir. 

Cha dennee rieau yn soogh y shang. — Manx. 

It's ill speaking 'twixt a fu' man and a fastin'. — Scot. 

Corpo satollo non crede al digiuno. — It. 

'O ■)(opTa(T^èvos Tov vrjCTTiKov Sèv tÒv TTKTTevei. — Mod. Gr. 

Cha tuig an t-òg aimbeart, 's cha tuig amadan 'aimh- 

Youth foresees not poverty, nor the fool his mischief. 


Cha tuit a' h-uile riid air an tig crathadh. 
Evcrytliing falls not that is shaken. 
Every wind bloweth not down the corn. — Eng. 
Ogni vento non scuote il noce. — It. 

Cha tuit caoran a cliabh falamh. 
Peats don't fall from empty creels. 
Cha tuit guidhe air cloich no air crann. 
Curse won't fall on stock or stone. 
The curse causeless shall not come. — Prov. xxvi. 2. 
Le bestemmie fanno come le procession! ; ritornano donde par- 
tirono— Citrses, like •processions, return ichence they came. — It. 

Chaidh a phronnadh 'n a shùgh fèin. 

He VMS pounded in his oion juice. 

Chaidh an ceòl air feadh na fidhle, 

Tlie music went through the fiddle. 

All went into confusion. 

Chaidh an taoim os ceann nan totaichean. 

Tlie hilge-ivater was over the thwarts. 

Chaidh an tonn gun direadh air. 

The wave went over him without climhing. 

Chaidh e do 'n choille 'ghearradh bata gu gabhail air 

He went to the wood for a stick to heat himself. 

Chaidh mi thar lus. 

/ went over a plant. 

In Macintosh the translation is * I stepped over a weed,' with 
this note in the 2d Ed., ' Said when a person is seized suddenly 
with sickness '. I have not been able to find any trace of the idea 
that stepping over a plant causes sickness ; but it is suggested that 
it refers to women in an interesting condition, when they have 
curious fancies. * Lus ' might be a misreading of ' lùths,' irith, in 
which case the proper rendering would be, ' I went beyond my 
pith'. 'She gaed by hersel' and feU ower' expresses "the same 

Chain e 'm baile thall, 's cha do bhuinnig e 'm baile 

He lost yonder farm, and didn't get this one. 

Al. Chain e Dall a bha thall, 's cha do bhuinnig e Dall a tha 
bhos,— in reference to two farms in the parish of Barvas, Lewis. 

Chain e 'n seòl mara. 

He lost the tide. 


Chaill Eoghan a Dhia, acli cliaill an t-Iarla 'chuid 

Ewen lost his God, hut the Earl his money. 

This singular saying is founded on the transaction thus men- 
tioned in an old MS., — 

" Sir E. Cameron was bound by alliance, money, and solemn 
oath to the MacLeans, but renounced all on Argyll's quitting to 
him a debt of 40,000 merks."— Mci^ar^ane's Genealog. Coll. MSS. 
Adv. Lib. II. 191. 

Chailleadh tu do chluasan mur biodh iad 'an ceangal 

You would lose your ears were they not fastened to you. 

CM an duin' acrach fada uaithe. 

Tiie hungry man sees far. — Scot. 

Chi dithis barrachd air aon fhear. 

Two see more than one. 

Al. Chi ceithir sùilean na 's mò na 'dhà. 

Four eyes see more than two. — Eng. 

Deux yeux voyent plus clair qu' un. — Fr, 

Vedon più quattr' occhi che due. — It. 

Mas ven quatro ojos que dos. — Span. 

Vier Augen sehen mehr als zwel— Germ. 

Clii mi sin, 's fuaighidh mi sec. 

That I see, hut this I seiv. 

A brave tailor in the little town of Beauly wagered that he 
would sew a pair of hose at midnight in the old church of Kil- 
christ, which was known to be haunted by a very dreadful ghost. 
He was duly escorted to the place, and left in a seat near the door, 
with his cloth and thread and candles, about eleven o'clock. He 
set manfully to work, and sewed away imdisturbed for about an 
hour. At length the clock struck the witching hour of twelve, 
and as the last stroke vibrated through the dead silence, the tailor 
with a beating heart became aware of a fearful head bending 
towards him, and a hoarse voice addressed him, * Fhaic thu 'n 
ceann mor liath, 's e giin bhiadh, a thàilleirl' — ^See'st thou the big 
gray head, ivithout food, tailor?' 'That I see,' said the tailor, 'but 
this I sew, and went bravely on. Then the horrid thing drew nearer, 
and again the voice was heard, ' Fhaic thu 'n sgòrnan fada riabh- 
ach,' &c. ?— ' See'st thou the long grizzled throat,' &c. Ì The 
tailor answered as before, sewing with all his might. Still the 
thing drew nearer, and the voice said, ' Fhaic thu 'cholunn fhada 
riabhach,' &c. ? — ' See'st thou the long grizzled trunk 1' The tailor 
answered as before. Still nearer and nearer it came, and asked, 
'Fhaic thu 'n t-sliasaid fhada riabhach,' &c.?' — ' See'st thou the 
long gTÌzzled thigh ?' and again, 'Fhaic thu 'n gairdean fada riabh- 


ach,' &c. ? — ' See'st thou the loner grizzled arm V and as it spoke, 
the horrid bony hand was stretched towards him. Still the tailor 
sewed away, having now but two or three stitches to do. The 
spectre was now close to him, its eyeless sockets glaring, its flesh- 
less mouth grinning, the long brown arm and fingers menacing 
him, and for the last time the voice was heard, ' Fhaic thu chròg 
mhòr fhada riabhach, 's i gun bhiadh, a thàillear V — ' See'st thou 
the great grizzled paw, without food, tailor V At that moment 
the tailor had finished his last stitch ; he caught up the hose 
hastily, and made for the door. Behind him clattered the skele- 
ton, and just as he got out at the door, he felt the bony fingers 
like hot pincers grazing his buttock. They left their mark there, 
but the tailor escaped alive, and heard the bony hand rattling 
against the cheek of the church door, knocking a dint there, in 
the stone, which may be seen to this day, to testify to the truth 
of the brave tailor's story ! 

Chi sinn de 'n taobh a tliig a' mhaodal as a' mhart. 

We'll see on which side the paunch comes out of the cow. 

This is suggestive of something like the Roman divination from 
intestines; but it really means nothing more than a joke some- 
times played on yoimg people present on the great occasion of 
killing a winter cow. They would be asked to guess on which 
side of the anhnal the paunch would appear, which was of course 
a matter of mere accident. 

Chi sinn, mar a thubhairt an dall. 

Well see, as the blind man said. 

Nous verrons, dit I'aveugle. — Fr. 

Chi thu thugad e, 's cha 'n fheairrd thu agad e. 

You'll see it coming to you, and you'll he none the better. 

Chlisg am brochan nach d' òl e. 

The gruel he drank not trembled. 

Intended to indicate great trepidation. 

Chluicheadh e 'h-uile buxx rùdain deth. 

He would play his very hnuekles off^ 

A desperate gamester. 

Chual luchan an àrd-doruis e. 

The mice of the lintel heard it. 

A supposed secret. 

Chluinneadh e 'm fiar a' fas. 

He would hear the grass growing. 

Cho àluinn ri Aghaidh-shneachda. 

As lovely as Snoiv-face. 

This is the 'Agandecca' of Macpherson, known in Highland 
story long before his time. 


Cho an-iochdmhor ris an Turcach. 

As merciless as the Ttirk. 

The fame of Turkish corsairs found its way to the remotest 

Cho binn ri smeòraich air geig. 

As tuneful as a inavis on a hough. 

Cho bith ris an Inch fo ladhar a' chait. 

As quiet as a mouse under the cat's pavj. 

Al. Cho umhal ri luch fo spòg a' chait. 

As quiet as a mouse. — Eng. 

Cho bochd ris a' chirc. As poor as a hen. 

Cho bodhar ri cloich. As deaf as a stone. 

Cho bodhar ri giadh a 's t-Fhoghar. 

As deaf as a goose in Autumn. 

Cho briagach 's a tha 'n cù cho bradach. 

As lying as the dog is thievish. 

Cho bròdail ris a' mhac-mhollachd. 

As p)roud as the son of perdition. 

As proud as Lucifer. 

Cho cam ri iomair an amadain. 

As crooked as the fool's furrow. 

Cho carach ri ]\Iac Chrùislig. 

As tricky as Mac Cruslick. 

See ' Cha b' ann mar a fhuair '. 

Cho carach ris a' mhadadh-ruadh. 

As wily as a fox. — Eng. 

Cho ciallach ri cnoc. As staid as a hill. 

The alliteration is the chief thing here. The sense, such as it 
is, is better than the English ' As wise as a wisp '. 

Cho corrach ri ubh air droll. 

As unsteady as an egg on a stick. 

Mai wy ar trosol. — Welsh. 

Cho crosda ris an dris. As cross as a hramlle. 

Cho cruaidh ri seiche Euairidh — ni i fuaim, 's 'n uair 
a theid a bualadh ni i srann. 

As hard as Rorijs hide — it sounds, and when it's struck, 
it resounds. 

Cho cuimseach làmh ri Connlaoch. 

As uiierring of hand as Connlaoch. 


Connlaoch was one of the Ossianic heroes, son of Cuchullin, and 
broui,'ht up at Dùn-sgàthaich in Skye, of which the ruins still 
remain. There are several ballads on the tragic story of Conn- 
laoch, to be found iii Campbell's Leabhar na Feinne, pp. 9-15. It 
forms the subject also of one of the finest pieces in Macpherson's 

The name Connlaoch cannot, unfortunately, be represented, as 
pronounced, by any English letters, the diphthong ao in particular 
(something like the French oeu and the German o) having no place 
in the English language. 

Cho dall ri bonn do chois. 

As Mind as the sole of your foot. 

Clio dall ri dallaig. As blind as a dog-fish. 

Clio dall ri danih ann an ceo. 

As blind as an ox in mist. 

Clio daor ris an .t-salann. As dear as salt. 
See ' Cha b' e sin an salann saor '. 

Clio disgeir ri cat. As nimble as a cat. 

Cho dona dlietli ri lair a' ghoblia. 

As ill off as the blacksmith's mare. 

The smith's mear and the soutar's wife are aye warst shod. — Scot. 

Cho dudacli ri circ. As thin-skinned as a hen. 
Cho eòlach 's a tha 'm bridean 's an tràigh. 
As well acquainted as the oyster -catcher is with the shore. 
Cho eòlach 's a tha 'n ladar air a' plioit. 
As intimate as the ladle and the pot. 
Cho fad 's a bhios bainne geal aig boin dhuibh. 
As long as a black cow gives vjhite milk. 
This is said to have been once the term of lease of a farm in 

Cho fad 's a bliios craobh 's a' choill, bidh foill anns 
a' ChuimeanacL 

As long as trees are in the wood, the Cumming will be 

This is one out of several similar sayings, which, it is hoped, 
will give no offence now to any members of the clans so character- 
ized. The Cumming one is selected as a leading specimen, because 
it IS perhaps the oldest, having probably originated in the time of 
King Robert the Bruce, who punished the treachery of his cousin 
the Red Cumyn in such a memorable way at Dumfries. 

' Cho fad 's a bhios slat 'an coill, bidh foill ann an Caimbeulach,' 


bestows the same character on the great Campbell clan, a saying 
probably dating from the massacre of Glencoe. 
' Cho fad 's a bhios maid' 'an coill, 
Cha bhi Mathanach gun fhoill,' 
euphoniously proclaims the same of the respectable tribe of Math- 
eson. The Munros are similarly libelled. 

More stiffly, and with as little known reason, it is said of tlie 

' Fhad 's a bhios fuachd ann a' stoc call, 
(or, uisge 'am bun càil) 
Bidh an fhoill ann an clann Phàil.' 
* IVliile there's cold in stock of kail, 
Will he guile in a MacPhail.' 
Lastly, and worst of all, it has been said, probably by some 
Mainland or Long Island victim of Skye treacliery, ' Fhad 's a 
bhios fiodh 'an coill, bidh an fhoill 's an Sgitheanach '. 

Cho fad 's a bhios monadh 'an Cinntail', cha bhi Mac- 
Coinnich gun àl 's a' chrò. 

As long as there are moors in Kintail, Mackenzie won't 
ivant cattle in the pen. 

This referred to the ancient lords of Kintail, the last of whom 
died in 1815. The word ' crò' has a double meaning here, being 
the name of a part of Kintail, so called from the river Croe. 
Cho fad 's a bhios muir a' bualadh ri lie. 
As long as sea heats on stone. 
Cho fada 's a' cheann 's a bha Fionn 's na casan. 
^.s long in the head as Fingal tvas in the legs. 
In some of the Ossianic legends, Fingal figures as a man of 
gigantic dimensions, and that is the general tradition about him 
and his followers. 

Cho fallain ris a' bhreac. 
As healthy as a salmon. 

It is a sad fact that the immunity from disease of this noble 
fish can be claimed for it no longer, after the evidence of 1879. 

Cho fuar ri màthair a' chleirich. 

As cold as the beadle's mother. 

The beadle's mother was in the habit, where this proverb origi- 
nated (Tiree, apparently,) of doing duty for her son occasionally, 
and, in the collection of dues or taxes, she was as coldly severe as 
any head of a Financial Department could desire, 

Cho geal ri sneachd na h-aon oidhche. 

As white as the one night's snow. 

Cho glic ri sagart 's eallach leabliraichean air. 

As wise as a priest with a load of books. 


Cho gionach ris a' chù. As greedy as a dog. 

Cho gnu ri broc. As grippy as a badger. 

Cho gòrach ris na h-eòin. As thoughtless as the hirds. 
Often said of children by nice old women. 

Cho labhar ris a' ghaoith. As noisy as the wind. 

Cho làidir ri Cuchullin. As strong as Cuchullin. 
Cuchullin is one of the principal characters in Scoto-Irish 
legendary poetry and history, and is represented as not only a 
prodigy of strength, but gifted with every manly grace, a Celtic 
Achilles, and something more. In the wonderful old Irish legend 
of the ' Tain Bo Cuailgne,' he figures as the hero of the great 
struggle, in which he perished fighting against fearful odds, simply 
through his magnificent sense of honour and chivalry, knowing 
perfectly what he risked. This strange weird story is embodied 
by Mr. O'Grady in his History of Ireland. 

The description of Cuchullin in his chariot, in the 1st Book of 
Macpherson's Fingal is one of the passages in that poem of which 
there can be no doubt that he at least was not the author, and 
that the original wa.s Gaelic, and old. It contains one amusing 
example of Macpherson's inaccuracy, or imperfect knowledge of 
his native tongue. The two lines, describing one of the horses, 

Bu shoilleir a dhreach, 's bu luath 

'Shiubhal : Sithfada b'e ainm, 
are well translated by Dr Clerk, 

Shining his coat, and speedy 

His pace — Si-fadda his name. 
Macpherson's translation is, ' Bright are the sides of the steed ! 
His name is Sidin-Sifadda !' The word ' Sith-fada' means 'Long- 
pace,' an admirable name for a horse. Macpherson, misreading 
and mistranslating 'shiubhal,' 'his going,' imagined that it was 
part of the horse's name, and tacked it on accordingly. 

Cuchullin's name is still associated in Skye with the old vitri- 
fied fort of Dun Sgàthaich at Ord (painted more than once by 
M'Culloch), where his son Connlaoch was supposed to have been 
born and brought up by his mother, whom Cuchullin in Fingal, 
B. I., speaks of as, 

Deò-ghrèine Dlmn Sgàthaich nan stuadh, 

Ainnir bhràigh-gheal nan rosg mall, 

Ise 'dh 'fhag mi 'n Innis an t-slòigh. 

The sunl^eam of Dunscaaich of waves, 
White-bosomed fair of gentle eye. 
Whom 1 left in the Isle of hosts. 
The fashion introduced by writers of guide-books and others, 
of calling the Coolin Hills in Skye ' CuchuUin Hills,' is -w-ithou.t 


any local or historical warrant. They were never known in Skye 
by any other name than the Cuilfiiion, prononnced Coolyun. 
'Cuilfhinn,' fair, lovely, suggests a fit etymology, but I believe 
the name is derived from the fact that the Holly, CuiUonn, 
was found in unusual abundance among the ravines of these 
moimtains. It still flourishes on the rocky banks of several of 
the streams, and on the most conspicuous of the islets in Coiruisk. 

The sweet-scented ' Queen of the Meadow' is named in Gaelic 
' Crios-Chuchulinn' — Cuchullin's belt, of which Alexander Mac- 
Donald in his ' Song of Summer' sweetly sings, 
'S cùraidh fàileadh do mhuineil, 
A Chrios-Chomhchuluinn nan cam. 
Sweet is the scent of thy neck. 
Thou Belt of Cuchullin of cairns. 

Cho làidir ris a' Gliarbh Mac Stàirn. 

As strong as Garv the son of Starn. 

'An Garbh' is simply 'the strong,' a Celtic name bestowed on 
a Scandinavian champion, who figures largely in the old Gaelic 
ballads. In Macpherson's Ossian he is Swaran, son of Starno, and 
brother of Agandecca, whom Cuchullin overcame. 

Cho Ian 's 'tha 'n t-ubh de 'n bhiadh. 

As full as an egg is of meat. 

Cho leisg ri seana chù. As lazy as an old dog. 

Cho lionmhor ri muinntir Fhionnlaidh. 

As numerous as Finlays people. 

This is a Lewis name for the Fairies, of unknown origin. 

Cho lionmhor ris na gathan dubha. 

As numerous as the black darts. 

This is variously interpreted, and may be held descriptive of 
midges darting to and fro in myriads, or of the black spikes of 
small oats. 

Cho luath ri aigne nam ban baoth. 

As swift as the fancy of foolish vjomen. 

A sharp, but not censorious, saying. 

Cho luath ris na loin. As swift as the elks. 

Al. Cho luath ris na luinn — As swift as the luavetops. 

The primary rendering of this goes back to a prehistoric period. 
The other is very descriptive, and applies eq^ually to the waving 
of corn or grass. 

Cho marljh ri sgadan. As dead as a herring. 

No other fish dies so quickly on being taken out of the water. 

Cho math 's a's fhiach am mèirleach a' chroich. 

As loell as the thief deserves the gallows. 

As well worth it as a thief is worth a rope. — Eng. 


Cho mear ri ceann siamain ri latha gaoithe. 

As merry as the head of a straio-rope on a windy day. 

Trivial, but graphic. 

Cho mor aig a cheile ri da cheann eich. 

As thick as ttvo horse heads. 

Al. Cho reidh ris na ceannaichean — As ivell-agreed as merchants. 

This version looks like a pun = ceann-eich. 

Cho mosach ris na glasan. 

As mean as the locks. 

Lock-fast places are still comparatively uncommon among the 
Highland peasantry. As lor locking a main-door at night, that 
is never thought of. 

Cho nimheil ris an nathair. As venomous as a serpent. 

Cho reamhar ris an ròn. As fat as a seal. 

Cho sgith dheth 's a bha 'n losgann de 'n clileith- 

As tired as the toad was of the harrow. 

Many masters, quoth the toad to the harrow, when every tine 
(tooth) turned her over. — Enq. 

Mony maisters, quo' the puddock, when ilka tynd o' the harrow 
took him a toit. — Scot. 

Cho sgith ri CÙ. As tired as a dog. 
No animal wearies himself so unsparingly as a dog ; none is so 
ready, when most weary, to obey his master's call. 

Cho sgith 's a bha 'n gobha d' a mhàthair, 'n uair a 
thiodhlaic e seachd uairean i. 

As tired as the smith was of his mother, when ]■£ buried 
her seven times. 

I don't know the origin of this ridiculous sajdng. 

Cho sunndach ris an fhiadh. 

As hearty as the stag. 

Cho teoma ri Coibhi Druidh. 

As clever as Coivi the Druid. 

Dr. John Smith, in his Galic Antiquities (p. 8, note) says 
that this was the Gaelic name for the Arch-Druid ; and in Bede's 
interesting account of the conversion of King Aedwin of North- 
umbria (Eccl. Hist., Lib. II., cap. 13), the high-priest is called 
Coifi. In Mr. Moberly's note on this (Ed. of Bede, 1869) he says— 
" This name has been derived from Coibhi, the Kymric for ' help- 
ful,' and thus it has been argued that the Angle hierarchy was 
British. But see Kemble, Archceol. Soc. Proc, 184.5, p. 83. 
Coifi is only an Anglo-Saxon nickname of easy translation. * * * 


The word is equivalent to Coefig or Cefig, just as Coinrsed in the 
Northumbrian dialect represents Cènrped in West-Saxon. It is 
an adjective formed from c6f, ' strenuus/ and merely denotes the 
' bold or active one '. " 

I cannot find the word ' coibhi,' or anything like it, in any 
Cymric dictionary, but whatever its origin, the name has been 
handed down in Scottish Gaelic for an unknown length of time as 
that of an important Druid. The above saying might well be ap- 
plied to King Aedwin's high-priest, who behaved wath remarkable 
wisdom on the occasion above mentioned. 

For another saying in reference to Coibhi, see ' Ge fagus clach '. 

Cho teth ri gaol seòladair. 
As hot as a sailor's love. 

Al. ' Gaol tàiUeir' — a tailor's love. Both sailors and tailors are 
accused of being apt to change their affections easily. 

Cho trie 's a tha fiacail 'ad cheann. 
As often as there's a tooth in your head. 

ChuaJa mi 'chubhag gun bliiadh 'am bhroinn, 

Chuuuaic mi 'n searrach 's a chùlaobh rium, 

Chnunaic mi 'n t-seilcheag air an lie luim, 

'S dh' aithnich mi naeh raehadli a' bliliadhn' ud learn. 

/ heard the cuckoo while fasting, 

I saw the foal with his hack to me, 

I saw the snail on the flag-stone hare. 

And I knew the year ivoidd he had for me. 

Attributed to the ' Cailleach Bheurra,' a distinguished Sybil. 

Cbuir am maor do thigh an rùnair' e. 

The hailiff sent him to the secretary. 

Al. ' An righ' for ' am maor '. 

The ' Circumlocution Otiìce' on a small scale. 

Chuir Brighd' a làmh 's a' bhola. 

Bridget 2)ut her hand into the hoivl. 

This seems to refer to St. Bridget's miraculous power of turning 
water into ale. The following curious old rhyme is among the 
GaeUc MSS. of the Advocates' Library, (g. ms. lxii.) 


Gairim is guidhim tu chlach, 

Na leig Brighid a mach. 

O 's i geurachadh an deoch, 

Is ioma saoidh gun lochd 

Dh'an d' thug i bàs. 

Do thart a nis o chaidh to thart, 

Tart siorruidh ort, a Bhrighid. 


Chiiir e 'bhàt' air acair. 
He set his boat at anchor. 

Chuir e 'chliath-chaisg air. 

He put the harrow-check on him. 

He put a stopper on liim, or a spoke in his wheel. 

Chuir e 'clirodh air àireachas. 

He sent his cattle to the hill pasture. 

Chuir e 'n dubh-chapaill air. 

He quite out-did him. 

This is a Lochaber phrase of unknown origin. It used to be 
the practice at weddings to have a pleasant competition in singing 
between ' Da tliaobh an t-sabhail,' the two sides of the barn — 
often the bride's friends against the bridegroom's. The side that 
held out longest would then say to the others, ' An dubh-chapaill 
oirbh ! ' 

Chuir e na buinn 's na breabanan air. 

He put the soles and half -soles on. 

He used all expedition, and finished the job. 

Chuir iad am balgan-suain fo 'cheann. 
TJicy put the sleeping-hag under his head. 
Applied, says Macintosh, to a person who sleeps too much, in 
allusion to the bag or cocoon in which the caterpillar sleeps. 

Chuir thu ceann paib air mu dheireadh. 
Yoit have put a tow-head on it at last. 
Al. ' Ceann gràineil,' a vile end. 

Said, says I\Iacintosh, of those who destroy all the good they 
have done by an ill deed. 

Desiuit in piscem mulier formosa superne. — Hor. 

Chuireadh e na h-eòin 'an crannaibh. 

He luould make the birds go into trees. 

With the sweetness of his voice. 

Duncan Maclntyre, describing the Glen Etive women waulk- 
ing cloth, says 

'Nuair a sheinneas iad na h-òrain, 
Cuiridh iad na h-eòin 'an crannaibh. 

Chuireadh e 'n òrrais air math-ghamhuin. 
It woidd sicken a bear. 

Chuireadh e na searraich bho dheoghal. 
It would put the foals froiii sucking. 
So bitter or disgusting. 



Chuireadh iad na feidh a fàsach. 

They would send the deer out of a wilderness. 

Said of very noisy people. 

Chuireadh tu eagal air na Samhanaich. 
You would frighten the savages. 
This is an Islay saying. 

AL Mharbhadh e na Samhanaich— li wotdd hill the savages; 
said of something very overpowering or unwholesome. See 'Aran'. 

Chumadh e dha mii'n do chiimadh triubhas dha. 
It was fitted for him before trews were made for him. 
It was predestined for him. 
Chunnaic mise da Mhac-Coinnich romhad ! 
I have seen two Machenzies before you ! 
Two Mackenzie factors. 

Factors have rarely been popular in the Highlands. The above 
was said by an indignant farmer to a disagreeable factor in Lewis, 
when the Mackenzies of Seaforth were lords of that island. At 
the burial of a Lewis factor, amid dry eyes, the following verse 
was made : — 

Cuiribh air ! Cuiribh air I 
'S e 'chuireadh òirnne ; 
'S ma dh'eireas e rithist, 
Cuiridh e 'n còrr oirnn ! 

Heap on him ! Heap on him ! 
It's he that would put on us ; 
And if he rise again. 
He'll just j)ut more on us ! 

I have heard of even a stronger sentiment expressed in another 
island at the burial of a factor who had taken in a great number 
of confiding people, left lamenting, not for him, but for their 
hardly earned money. One of these victims, a sturdy old man, 
stood by the grave when all was over, and shaking his fist at it, 
said, ' Na'm bu tig a' la a dh'eireas tu-sa as a sin !' — May the day 
never come lohen you'll rise out of that ! 

The Celts of Scotland have never, in modern times, so far as I 
know, maltreated, much less killed, a factor, steward, or magis- 
trate. They have often been treated unjustly ; but they are neither 
so quick of tongue, nor so unsparing of hand, as their Irish 

Ciall a dh' fhadai's teine ; 
Eian a chumas baile ; 
Cha mhair sliochd fir foille ; 
No iochd ri 'chuid cloinne. 


Sense hinlds up a fire ; 
Order keeps a city ; 
False man's seed endures not ; 
Nor will they get pity. 
Al. Tùr a thogas teine ; ciall a chiiireas as e — Wit to maJce a 
fire ; sense to put it out. 

Cinnidh a' chriontachd, 's tlieid an ro-chriontachd a 

Saving getteth store, over-saving mischief. 

Cinnidh Clann-Fhearchair gus an deicheamh linn. 

The Farqnliarsons shcdl flourish to the tenth generation. 

The Farqiiharsons, says Macintosh, in a lonf]^ note on this, are 
also called Clann Fhionnlaidh, i.e., the children of Finlay, 
" from Fiiday More, one of their tall chieftains, who bore the 
royal standard at the battle of Pinkie ; hence the surnames, Fin- 
lay, MacKinlay, and Finlayson. The Farquharsons," he adds, 
" are descended of Farchard Shaw, son of Shaw of Dalnavert ; the 
present Farqiiharson of Invercauld, their chief, seems to deny this, 
and pretends that they are descended of Macdnff, Thane, and 
afterwards Earl of Fife, for which assertion neither he nor any 
other can show vouchers." 

Cinnidh mac o mhi-altrum, ach cha chinn e o 'n Aog. 
A child may survive had nursing, hut he cant escape 

Cinnidh Scuit saor am fine,, 
Mur breug am fàisdine, 
Far am faighear an Lia-fàil, 
Dlighe flaitheas do ghabhail. 
The Scottish race shall flourish free, 
Unless false the prophecie, 
Where the sacred stone is found, 
There shall sovereignty have ground. 
This saying is undoubtedly Irish, and not Scottish, in the 
modern sense of the latter word. As given by Keating (Ed. 1811, 
p. 198) it is, 

Cineadh Scuit saor an fine, 
Mun budh breag an f haisdine, 
Mar a fuighid an liagh-fli'til, 
Dlighid flaitheas do ghabhail, 
Keating gives this as his rendering of the Latin of Hector Boece, 
which must therefore be regarded as the first known version of 
this sa3'ing. Boece's couplet, which he says is engraved on the 
stone, ^ Suprascriptio lapidi insculpta' (Ed. 1574, fol, 2), is — 


Ni fallat fa turn, Scoti, quocunque locatura, 
Invenient lapidem, regnare teueutur ibidem, 
ttus translated into English, 

The Scots shall brook that realm as native ground, 
If weirds fail not, where'er this chair is found. 
Keating, however, though indebted to Boece for this verse, quotes 
a still older one in reference to the 'Lia-Fàil,' from the poet 
Cinaeth O'Hartigan, who died, according to Tighernach, in 975 — 
An cloch a ta fam dha shail, 
Uaithe raidhtear Inis Fail 
The stone that is beneath my feet 
From it is styled the Isle of Fail. 

Keatinr/s Hist., Ed. 1811, p. 118. 
The stone in question, so far as Scotland is concerned, was un- 
doubtedly carried away from Scone by that prince of robbers, 
Edward I., and deposited in Westminster Abbey, in the coronation 
chair, where every British sovereign has been crowned ever since, 
down to our dearly beloved Queen Victoria. So much faith has 
the sturdy Saxon ever had, in spite of all his protests and prose, 
in Celtic sentiment and prophecy ! Why, else, should he have 
made so much of a rough piece of what Professor Geikie has 
assured Mr. Skene to be simply a bit of Perthshire sandstone ? 
(See Skene's 'Coronation Stone'). Archaeology and Geology com- 
bined make sad havoc of traditional faith, for we are assured by 
Hector Boece that the precious stone in question was the royal 
chair of King Gathelus in Brigantia, and was carried from Spain 
to Ireland, and from Ireland to Scotland. Keating, on the other 
\iand, tells us that it was brought by the Tuath de Dannan from 
Lochlann (Scandinavia) and sent over from Ireland to Scotland 
by Murtogh Mac Earc, that his brother, Fergus the Great, ' the 
first of our kings, I suppose,' might be crowned on it (A.D. 503). 
Some imaginative Saxons, fired by Irish poetry, go a great deal 
further than this, and believe, or try to make believe, that this 
sufficiently venerable stone is the very stone on which Jacob pil- 
lowed his head on that memorable night when he slept and 
dreamed at Bethel ; and that our possession of it in Westminster 
Abbey is one among a hundred clear proofs that we are the real 
Children of Israel— the remnant of the lost Ten Tribes ! 

Apart from all absurdity, that stone is very venerable, and 
ought, to every British person, English, Scottish, or Irish, to be 
really sacred. The above rhyme is interesting philologically and 
historically, whatever be thought of the legend. ' Lia ' = Liag 
= Leac, a flat stone, and ' Fàl' = prerogative, privilege, privileged 
person. King, whence the old name of Ireland, ' Innis-fàil '. 

Another Irish name for the 'Lia-fàil' Ls 'Cloch-na-Cinneamha,' 
the Stone of Destiny. 

There is a Lochaber saying that possibly refers to the Irish 
origin of this sacred stone. It is said, when darning or patching 
a hole on a boy's jacket or trousers while on him — ' Fuaigheam 


seo mu chloich ghlais an t-sagairt, — a' cUach ghlas a bha 'n 
Eirinn.' — Let me seiv this round the priest's gray stone — the gray 
stone that was in Ireland. 

Ciod a b' àill leat fhaigbinn 'an nead an fhithich ach 
am fitlieach fhein? 

What would you expect in the, ravens nest hut the 
raven itself? 

Ciod a dli' iarradh tu air bo ach gnòsd ? 
What would you expect from a cow hut a groan ?' 
The word ' groan' does not quite represent the sound in ques- 
tion. Neither does ' moan' nor ' low'. It is that subdued noise 
which a cow utters as her ordinary expression of feeling. 

Ciod a's fhearr a dh' innseas an cladli na 'n eaglais ? 
Wliat hetter guide to the churchyard than the church ? 
Ciod a's misde duine 'chreach, miir lughaid a phòr e ? 
What is a man the worse of being plimdered if it does'iit 
diminish his jprodiice ? 

A very philosophical view of the matter. 

Cirean a' choilich air a' chirc. 
Tiie cock's comh on the hen. 
The woman wearing the breeks. 

Clach 'an ionad càbaig, 's core 'an ionad cninnseir. 
A stone instead of a cheese, and a knife instead of a 

'S Mae Eoghainn 'th' ann an dràsda, 

Mar chloich an ionad càbaig, 

'An àite na bh' ann. 

Macintyre's ' Cumha Choire-Cheathaich '. 

Clach air miiin cloich Mhic-Lèoid. 
A stone on the top of Mac LeodJs stone. 
A MacDonald saying, doubtless, these two clans having been 
always the great rivals for power in Skye. 

Clachag 'n am bhròig, deargan 'n am mhuilchinn, 
càilein 'n am fhiacail, 's mo leannan 'g am fhàgail. 

A pchhle in my shoe, a flee in my sleeve, a husk in my 
teeth, and my siveetheart leaving me. 

A combination of annoyances. 

Clachan an t-Srath, 'us mnathan Shleibhte. 

TJie stones of Strath, and the women of Sleat. 

Strath and Sleat are neighbouring parishes in Skye ; the one 
possessing, among other distinctions, a vein of gray marble, of 


which the road-side dykes are to a large extent built,— the other 
noted, or claiming to be, for the beauty of its women. 

Clachan beag a' dol an iochdar, 's clachan mor a' dol 
an uaclidar. 

The little stones going down, and tiie big ones coming to 
the top. 

A physical fact, and a human experience also. 

Clachan dubh' an aghaidh smth. 
Black stones against the stream. 

Clachair Samhraidh, diol-dèirc Geamhraidh. 

Summer mason, Winter heggar. 

Sometimes the case still, but seldom compared with old times. 

Claidheamh an làimh amadain, 'us slachdan an làimh 

A sioord in a fools hand, a heetle in an idiot's. 
Ne'er put a sword in a wud man's hand. — Scot. 
Mi) TratSt fidxaipav — Don't give a sword to a child. — Gr. 
Ne puero gladium. Ne gladium toUas, muUer. — Lat 

Clann Mhic-Codmim nan ròn. 

The seal Mac Codrums. 

There is a legend about the Mac Codrums having been 
metamorphosed into seals, too long to be given here. They re- 
tained, along with the amphibious shape, the human soul, and at 
times, human form. They were, in fact, seals by day, but human 
creatures at night. No Mac Codrum, for all the world, would, if 
in his proper senses, fire a gun at a seal. 

Clann Mhuirich a' bhrochain. 
The gruelly Mac Phersons. 

* Mac Neacail a' bhrochain 's an droch aran eòrna ' — Nicolson 
of the gruel and bad barley bread, is a Skye saying. The same is 
sometimes said of the Mac Askills. But it is apparently borrowed 
from a Badenoch song, in which an old woman says — 
Tha 'n cnatan orm, 
Tha 'n tùchan orm, 

Tha 'm brochan ""an coinneamh mo lùths 'thoirt uam. 
Am brochan dubh 'n còmhnaidh, 
'S an droch aran eòrna, 
'S an t-annlann air bòrd 's a chùlaobh rium. 

Clanna nan Gàidheal an guaillibh a cheile ! 

The clans of the Gael shoulder to shoulder ! 

This is one of the best known and ofteuest quoted of all Gaelic 


sayings. Literally it is ' in each other's shoulders,' i.e., each with 
his arm round the shoulder of the other, as Highlanders would 
do in crossing a deep water together. 

Claoidhidh foighidinn mhath na clachan. 
Patience ivill wear out stones. 
Clàr mòr fo bheagan. 
Big dish and little on it. 

The clàr was a big wooden dish, and I suppose is not yet obso- 
lete in the Highlands. 

Cleamhnas 'am fagus, 'us goisteachd 'am fad. 
Affinity near, sponsorship far off. 
Cleas gille-nan-cual — cual bheag 'us tighinn trie. 
Tlie porters trick, — a little load and frequent. 
Al. Cuallach a' mhic-leisg — The lazy lad's herding. 
Al. Tarruing chailleach — Old wives' drawing. 

Cloicheirean spàgach, ogha na muile-màig'. 

The tvaddling stone-chat, the frog's grand-child. 

A Lismore saying, suggestive of the development theory. 

Cluich a' chas a chompaich. 

Play the foot, my comrade. 

Giving one's companion leg bail. 

Cluich a' chuilein ris an t-fvcan-chu. 

The play of the j)np with the old dog. 

Al. Mir' a' chiiilein ris a' mhial-chu. 

Cluinnidh am bodhar fuaim an airgid. 

The deaf can hear the silver clink. 

Cluinnidh an dùthaich 'us cù Eob cheaird e. 

The country will hear it, and Boh Tinker's dog too. 

Cluinnidh tu air a' chluais a's buidhr' e. 

You'll hear it on your deafest ear. 

Cluinnear e far nach faicear e. 

Hell he heard where he is not seen. 

Cnàmhag na circe reamhair. 

The fat hen's refuse. 

Cnàimh mor do dhuine gionach. 

A great hane to a greedy man. — Scot. 

Cnàimh mor 'us feòil air, fuigheal clachair. 

A hig hone and flesh on it, a masons leavings. 

See ' Fui^hleach tàilleir '. 


Cnò a uachdar a' mhogail. 

A nut from the upper side of the cluster. 

Supposed to be the best. See * Bidh an ubhal a's fhearr '. 

Cnatan Dhò'ill Mhic-Mhartainn. 

Donald Martins cold. 

A Lochaber saying. Donald was said to take a cold once a 
quarter, which lasted three months. The Mac Martins in that 
country are Camerons. 

Cnoic 'us uisg' 'us Ailpeinich, acli c'uin a thainig 
Artaraich ? 

Hills and water and MacAlpines, but when did the 
MacArthurs come Ì 

A I. ' Cnoic 'us uillt,' Hills and streams. 'Cnoic 'us uilc,' Hills 
and ills. 

' Meaning,' says Macintosh, ' that the MacGregors are as old 
as the hills.' As already noted, under ' Cha robh balach,' they 
trace their descent from Alpin, King of Scots in the first half of 
the 9th century, and Macintosh quotes an old verse in reference 
to their descent : — 

Sliochd nan righribh dùthchasach, 

'Bha shios 'an Uùn-s-dà-innis, 

Aig an robh crùn na h-Alb' o thus, 

'S aig am beil dùthchas fhathasd ris. 

Children of the native kings. 

Who reigned down at Dunstaffnage, 

Who first the crown of Alba owned, 

And still have native claim to it. 
The MacArthurs, as the above saying implies, claim a still older 
lineage, from a King Art, or Arthur, of prehistoric times. In 
Cormac's Glossary, the word 'Art' has three meanings given, — 
'■uasal, unde dicitur^ine airt, no art fine' — nolle, whence o noble 

Cnuasach uircein, buain 'us itheadh. 
The pig's contemplation, pluck and eat. 

Cnuasachd na gràineig. 

The hedgehog's hoard. 

This, says Armstrong, is ' expressive of the folly of wordly- 
minded people, who part with all at the grave, as the hedgehog is 
compelled to drop its burden of crab-apples at the narrow entrance 
of its hole.' Lightfoot says (Flora Scotica, 2nd Ed., 1792, p. 13) 
the hedgehog is "not found beyond the Tay, perhaps not beyond 
the Forth ". It is found at this day as far north as Lochaber. 


Co air a rinn thu sid ? — Ort f hein, a ghràidh. 

On whom did you do that Ì — On yourself, my dear. 

Co dhà a b' fhearr a b' aitlme an cat a tlioirt as a' 
mbtiighe, na do 'n fhear a chnir ann e ? 

IVIio hioivs test to take the cat out of the churn tut he 
that put her in Ì 

Ye served me as the wife did the cat,— coost me in the kirn, 
and syne harled me oot again.— /Scof. 

Co dlia bliios Mac-Mhathain gu math, mur bi dlia 
fhein ? 

To vjhom will Mathcson he good, if not to himself Ì 

Co dhiùbh 's ann air sratli no 'n gleann, 's ann as a 
ceann a bhligliear a' bho. 

Whether on strath or in glen, 'tis from her head the 
cow's milk comes. 

As a cionn a bhiichtear an bho. — Ir. 

Godroid buwch o' i phen. — JFelsh. 

It's by the head that the coo gi'es milk. — Scot. 

As the coo feeds, so she bleeds. — Do. 

Die Kuh milcht durchs Maul. — Germ. 

Co dhiùbli 's fliusa bata dheanamli de 'n ghuairne mu 
gbuairn, no cuaille de 'n ghiùrne mu gliiùru ? 

Whether is it easier to make a stick of the quill-pith, 
or a stake of the auger-dust ? 

This is another version of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the 
phrases used having reference to the use of a turning-lathe. 

Co ni 'n t-olc ach na mnathan ! 

Who can do ill hut the women ! 

This is but another form of ' Corruptio optimi est pessima '. 
'All wickedness,' says the son of Sirach (xxv. 19), 'is but little 
to the wickedness of a woman.' 

Co ris a theid mi g' am gliearan, 's gun Mac-Mhic- 
Ailein 'am Mùideart ? 

To tvhom can I make my complaint, and no Clanrancdd 
in Moidart Ì 

This natural gush of Celtic feeling refers to the Clanranald who 
was kiUed at Sheriff Muir, a chief who was the idol of his clan. 

Cobhair nan geas. The succour from spells. 
Said of a person to be relied on as an (Edipus, or Hercules, in 
cases of difficulty, to solve riddles, or break sjiells. 
Coimeas a' glieoidh bhric 's a mliàtliar. 
The comparison of the gray goose to his mother. 


Coimhearsnacli bun an doruis. 

Next door neighbour. 

Al. C. na h-ursann — Door-post neighbour. 

Coinneach do 'thigh, crionach a chonnadh, blàth o 'n 
bhoine, teth o 'n teine. 

Moss to his house, brush-wood for his fuel, warm milk 
from the coio, heat from the fire. 

Attributed to the ' Ollamh Ileacli' as an advice for old people. 

Coinnichidh na daoine ged nach coinnich na cnuic. 

Men may meet, but mountains never. — Eng. 

Al. Tachraidh na daoine. 

Cynt y cwrdd dau ddyn na dau Ian — Sooner will two men meet 
than two banks. — Welsh. 

Friends may meet, but mountains never greet. — Eng. 

We'll meet ere hills meet. — Scot. 

Deux hommes se rencontrent bien, mais jamais deux montagnes. 

Bowi/oi/ /xe ^ovvòv 8èv àvTafjLÒvfrai — Mountain doesn't meet moun- 
tain.— Mod. Gr. 

Coltach ri earball an t-seana-mhairt, daonnan air 

Like the old cow's tail, always last. 

Coltach ri mnathan Mhic-Carmaic, g\è làidir 's an 

Like MacCormack's wives, very strong in the neck. 

Who M'Cormack was, and where he lived, we know not ; but 
it may be assumed that he was sadly henpecked. 

Coltach ri m' sheana-bhrògan, a' sior-dhol 'am miosad. 

Like my old shoes, ever getting worse. 

Comhairle caraid' gun a h-iarraidh, cha d' fhuair i 
riamli am meas bu choir dhi. 

A friend's advice unasked never got due esteem. 

Ulster saying in same words. 

Al. Comhairle gun iarraidh, cha robh meas riamh oirre. 

Ergyd yn llwvn cysul heb erchi — Advice unasked is like a shot 
into the wood. — Welsh. 

Comhairle caraid' gun a h-iarraidh 's i 's fhiach a 

A friend's advice unasked is v)ell worth keeping. 

Comhairle do dhuine glic, slat do dhruim an amadain. 

Counsel for the ivise man, for the fool's back a rod. 


A wink to the wise, a kick to the fool.— ^ra6. 
A nod for a wise man, a rod for a fool. — Eng. 
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the 
fool's back — Prov. xxvi. 3. 

Comhairle clag Sgain ; 

An rud nach buin dut na buin da. 

Coiinsel of the bell of Scone, 

Touch not what is not thine oivn. 
The voice of the Bell of Scone, the ancient seat of Scottish 
royalty, was taken to represent the voice of Law and Justice, of 
which the fundamental maxim is ' Suum cuique '. 

Comb-dhaltas gu ciad, 'us càirdeas gu fichead. 
Fostership to a hundred, kindred to tvMnty. 
See ' An co'-dhalta '. 

Comhfhurtachd an duine dliona — duine eile cho dona 
ris fhein. 

The lad man's consolation — that there's as had as he. 

Comunn mo gliaoil, comunn nan ceard. 
The company I love — the tmJcers. 

One very distinguished literary man, Mr. George Borrow, 
would not repudiate this sentiment 

Comunn nam Maor. The bailiffs brotherhood. 

See ' Mo chomain '. 

Contrachd ort ! Bad luck to you ! 

Còrdadh a reubas reachd. 

Concord (or compromise) that rends the law. 

Ammod a dyr ddefod. — Welsh. 

Law's costly ; tak' a pint and gree. — Scot. 

Meglio un magro accordo, che una grassa sentenza. — Ital. 

So Fr., Span., Germ., Dutch, Dan. 

Cothrom a h-aon. Fairplay — one to one. 

Two to one is odds enough. — Eng. 

Ne Hercules quidem contra duos. — Lat, 

Cothrom na Fèinne dhaibh. 

The Fingalian fair-play to them. 

The Fingalian idea of fair-play was that of the previous say- 
ing, one to one, ' Gaisgeach air ghaisgeach, 'us laoch ri laoch ' — 
Champion on champion, hero to hero. 

Cridhe na circe 'an gob na h-airce. 

A hens heart in the beak of want. 

Croiseam sgiorradli ! The cross between me and mishap ! 


Croiseam thu ! The cross he between us Ì 
Cromaidh an coileach circ' a cheann 'an dorus an tigh' 

The cock lows his head at the great house door. 
See ' Ged is iosal '. 

Cruaidh mar am fraoch, buan mar an giiithas. 
Hard as the heather, lasting as the pine. 
The heather is the badge of the MacDonalds, the pine of the 

Cruaidh mu 'n pheighinn, 's bog mu 'n mharg. 
Hard cibout the inmny, soft about the merle. 
Penny wise and pound foolish. — -Eji^r., Scot. 

Crùbaiche coin, leisgeul bhan, 's mionnan marsanta — 
tha iad coltacli ri cheile. 

A dog's limping, a woman's excuse, a merchant's oath — 
they are like each other. 

No es de vero lagrimas en la muger, ni coxear en el perro — 
Woman^s tears and dog's liviping are not real. — ^ilmn. 

Cruinneacliadh cruaidh agus leigeadh farsuinn. 
Hard gathering and free spending. 
The father scraping and the son scattering. 

Cruinuichidh na fithich far am bi a' chairbh. 
Where the carcase is the ravens will gcdher. 
"Wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered 
together.— Matth. xxiv. 28. 

CÙ an da fheidh, is minig a bha 'fhiadh air chall. 
The dog of tvjo deer has often lost his deer. 
Al. Coltach ri cù an da fheidh, a' call romhad 's 'ad dheigh. 
Eith na con a n-dèigh dà lliìadh. — Ir. 

'O Svo TtTcùKas èiùìKcùv òvòfTfpov KaraXafi^avei — He that chases 
two hares catches neither. — Gr. 

Uuos insequens lepores neutrum capit. — Lat. 

Qui court deux Uèvres, n' en prendra aucun. — Fr. 

Chi due lepri caccia, 1' una non piglia, e 1' altra lascia. — Ital. 

Wer zwei Hasen zugleich hetzt, fangt gar keinen. — Germ. 

Cuid a' ghobha — an ceann. 

The smith's share — the head. 

The smith's perquisite for killing a cow, which he was generally 
employed to do. That great event generally took place once a 
year, at Martinmas, whence possibly the word 'mart' = cow. 


Cuid an t-searraich de 'n chlèith. 

The foaVs share of the harrow. 
Going beside his dam. 

Cuidich leat fhein, 's cuidichidh Dia leat. 

Help thyself, and God ivill help thee. 

Al. Dean do dhichioll, 's cuidichidh Dia leat. 

Cuidigheann Dia leis an tè a chuidigheas leis fèin. — Ir. 

Hilf dir selbst, so hilft dir Gott.— Germ. 

Help u zelven, zoo helpt u God. — Butch. 

Hielp dig selv, da hielper dig Gud. — Dan. 

Aide-toi, le ciel t-aidera. — Fr. 

Quien se guarda, Dios le guarda.— /Spcm. 

Chi s' aiuta, Dio 1' aiuta. — Ital. 

2Ùj/ 'A6r]và Kaì x^'-P"- i^'i-vd- — Mod. Gr. 

Cuigeal don-sniomhaich. Bad spinner's distaff. 
Said of an unthrifty or untidy woman. 

Cuimhnich air na daoine bho 'n d'thainig tliu, 

Eememher those you came from. 

A very Highland sentiment. Sometimes it is ' Cuimhnich air 
cruadal nan daoine,' &c. — Think of the fortitude of ijour forefathers ; 
a sentiment which has proved strong on many a battlefield. ' 

Cuir a mach an Sasunnach, 's thoir a stigh an cù. 
Put out the Englishman, and take in the dog. 
This is a Lochaber saying, supposed to date from the time of 
Cromwell, whose soldiers scourged that country severely. 

Cuir an tuagh air an t-samhaich cheart. 
Put the axe on the right helve. 
Put the saddle on the right horse, 

Cuir ceann na muice ri earr an uircein. 
Set the soiu's head to the little pig's tail. 
Bring the head o' the sow to the tail o' the grice. — Scot. 
This looks like a case of hysteron protero7i, but Kelly interprets 
it, ' balance your loss with your gain '. 

Cuir do làmh 's a' chliabh, 's thoir do rogha liabaig as. 
Put your hand into the creel, and take your choice of 

If this be a version of the Scottish rhyme on matrimony, it is 
certainly improved — 

Put yir hand in the creel, 
And draw an adder or an eel. 


Cuir do mliuingliinn 's an talamli, cha d' fhàg e 
falamh riamh thu. 

Put thy trust in the earth, it never left thee empty. 
A good motto for farmers. 

Cuir innte, 's cuiridh an saoghal uimpe. 
Give her food, and the ivorld will clothe her. 
Macintosh's note on this is, ' The back will trust, but the belly 
will still be craving '. 

Cuir manadh math air do mhanadli, 's bidli tu sona. 
Interpret good from thy omen, and thou shall he lucky. 
As Caesar did, when he fell on the British shore. 

Cuireadh cùl na coise. The hack-leg invitation. 
Al. Fiadhachadh cùl na h-iosgaid. 

That of a person who gives a faint invitation, and escorts one 
out of the house, saying, ' I am soiTy you couldn't stay ', 

Cuireadh ]\Ihic-Philip — ' gabh no fag '. 

M^Killops invitation — ' take or leave \ 

Cuiridli an teanga snaim nach fuasgail an fhiacail. 

The tongue will tie a knot tvhich the tooth can't unloose. 

Cuireann duine snaini le n- a theangaidh nach bh- fhuasgloch- 
aidh 'fhiacla. — Ir. 

The English and Scottish versions are nearly in the same words. 
Matrimony is referred to. 

Cuiridh aon bheairt as gu lorn 

Do dhuine 's gun a chonn fo 'cheill ; 

'Us cuiridh beairt eil' e ann, 

Ach a gabhail 'n a h-àm fhèin. 

One deed may a man undo, 

When his reason rulcth not ; 

And a step may set him up, 

If hut taken in due time. 
Cuiridh aon tràth air ais laogh 'us leanabh. 
One meal if it lack, ccdf or child icill go hack. 
Cuiridh bean ghlic suas duine, ach bheir bean amaid- 
each a nuas e le 'da lùimh. 

A wise loife will set a man iip, hut a foolish one will 
hring him dovm with hoth hands. 

Cuiridh beul milis thu 'shireadh na deirce. 
A sweet mouth vjill send you to heggary. 


Cuiridh e teine ris na tobraichean. 

He will set the wells on fire. 

This looks like setting the Thames on fire. 

Cuiridh peirceall na caora 'n crann air an fharadh. 

The sheep's jaw will put the plough on the hen-roost. 

This prediction is attributed to a famous Highland seer of the 
1 7th century, Coinneach Odliar, but it was made long before that 
by no less a person than Thomas the Rhymer. His saying, 

' The teeth of the sheep shall lay the plough on the shelf,' 
is quoted by Dr. Chambers in his Popular Rhymes of Scotland, 
with special reference to the changes of tenantry in the High- 
lands, in some parts of which sheep-farming has entirely supplanted 
agriculture. Rushes and heather may be seen now in fields that 
once yielded fair crops, and sheep in place of the men that tilled 

Cuiridh mi clach 'ad chàrn. 
I'll add a stone to your cairn. 
See ' Am fear nach mèudaich ', 

CÙ1 gaoith' 'us aghaidh greine. 

Back of wind and face of sun, 

A phrase in the old stories, descriptive of a pleasant retreat. 

Cum an dò-dhuine air do thaobh; bidh an deagh- 
dhuine agad daonnan. 

Keep the ill man on your side; the good man you'll 
always have. 

Cum an fheill air a latha. Keep the fair on its day. 
Keep the feast till the feast-day. — Scot. 

Cum an t-eathar bho chladach an fhasgaidh, 's fanaidh 
i fhein bho chladach an lliuaraidh. 

Keep the hoat from the lee-shore, and she'll keep herself 
from the wind-shore. 

Cum do chù ri 'leigeadh. 

Hold your dog till the starting-time. 

Don't loose your hound where there is nothing to limit. — Arah. 

Cum do theanga 'n ad chuimse. 
Keep your tongue in hand. 
The mouth is the tongue's prison. — Arah. 

'Apyvpò TO fifXrifia, xp^f^ò to aiwna — Speech is silvern, silence 
golden. — Mod. Gr. 


Cromadli gun ghainne 's a' chaol ; 
Aon eanga cliag 's an osan ; 
Seachd eangan 'am bial a tlieach ; 
Is tearc an neach do nach foghainn ; 
Air a clmmadh gu direach ; 
Agus a tri 's a' ghobhal. 
A full finger-length to the small; 
Eleven nails to the leg ; 
Seven nails to the hand ; 
There are few whom that wont suffice; 
Let it he shaped straight ; 
And three nails to the fork. 
This quaint rhyme is called ' Cumadh an TriubhaLs,' Tlie 
ing of Trews. A 'nail' is 2^ inches, and Macintosh says 
some of these nails should be doubled '. 

Cumaidh a' mliiic fhein a fail fhein glan. 
Uven the soiv ivill keep her ovm stye clean. 
The tod keeps aye his ain hole clean. — ^coi. 
Cumaidh an gearr-phoca uiread ris a' chorr-phoca. 
The little hag holds as much as the hig hag. 
'Cumaidh mi ri m' leannan/ ars an nighean, 'beul sioda 
's cridhe cainbe.' 

/ will keep to my sweetheart, said the girl, a mouth of 
silk and a heart of hemp. 

Beul eidhnàin, a's croidhe cuilinn — A mouth of ivy, and a heart 
of holly.— Ir. 

Cumhachd do charaid, agus tràillealachd do nàmhaid 
a dhùthcha ! 

Power to the friend, and thraldom to the enemy of his 
country ! 

Tliis is what used to be called a 'sentiment' for a toast. 
Cùnradh math fada bho làimh. 
A good hargain far away. 

Cuspach, 'us gag, 'us eill-bhuinn, 's mairg an spàg air 
am beireadh iad. 

Kihe and crack and hurning heel, pity the foot they 
come on. 

All these ailments are known only to people that go barefooted. 
The second one gives rise to another saying, ' Ceuni air gàig,' ap- 
plied to persons who walk reluctantly, as if they had a sore foot, 
or delicately, like King Agag. 

Dà bhuille dliiag fodair, 's gim bhuill' idir air son sìl. 
Twelve strokes for straw, and no stroke for seed. 
Great cry and little wool. See ' Buill'air gach craoibli '. 
Da cheann an taoid, 'us cead a tharruing. 
Both ends of the rope, and leave to pidl it. 

Da dhiù, gun aon roghainn. Tvjo evils and no choice. 

At the battle of Inverlochy, 1645, Alexander MacDonell, son 
of Coll (Colkitto) having made prisoner of Campbell of Achna- 
breac, said he would honour him by giving him his choice, whether 
to be beheaded or hanged. Campbell answered in the above words, 
and MacDonell struck off his head with his own hand. — Teachd. 
Gael, Vol. II., p. 135. 

Da thrian buidhinn barant. 
Assurance is tivo-thirds of success. 

Dail gu la na sluasaid. Delay to the day of the shovel. 
The day of burial. 

Dàir na coille. The rutting of the wood. 
Applied, according to Armstrong (Did.), to the first night of 
the New Year, when the wind blows from the west. 

Dan' ath-bhuailte. Bold, twice heaten. 

Dallta aran-eòrna Mhic Philip, a' dol 'am feoljhas, 's 
'am feobhas. 

Like Mac Killop's larley hrcad, getting letter and 

I have been imable to ascertain anything about the M'Killop 
who gave rise to the various proverbs in which he is named. 

The word ' dallta ' is not common, and is not given in any of 
oiM- dictionaries, except Shaw's and MacAlpine's ; and in O'Eeilly's 
Ir. Diet. Shaw is given as authority for the word. It means ' like, 
likeness, in manner of '. It is not surprising that it was in the 2d 
Ed. of Macintosh confounded with ' dalta,' foster-child, and trans- 
lated accordingly in this and the next proverb. 

Dallta 'cliinn charraicli, nach fulling fuachd no teas. 
Like the scabby head that cant endure cold or heat. 


Dàrna bean a' chlàrsair — a' chlàrsach fhèin. 
The harpers second wife — the harjp itself. 
See ' Eud bean a' chruitear '. 

Neil Gow's fiddle was said to be his second wife ; and there is 
a tune so called. 

Dè am feum a tha 's a' phiob mur cluithear oirre ? 
IVliat's the good of the pipe if it's not played on ? 

Dean àiU de 'n èigin. Make a will of necessity. 

Make a virtue of necessity. — Eng. 

Dean air d' adhais, 's ann a 's luaithe. 

Take it easy, you'll speed better. 

See 'Cha 'n e an ro-chabha£j'. 

Festina lente exactly expresses this. 

Dean an t-olc 's feith ri 'dheireadh. 
Do the ill and wait the end. 
The grave irony of this is very good. 

Dean àth no muileann deth. 

Mak' a kirk or a mill o't — Scot. 

' Dean Eige no Arisaig dheth' — Make, Eigg or Arisaig of it, is a 
Mull saying, used when a head wind and dirty weather come on, 
after the point of Ardnamurchan is passed, going northward. 

Dean bonnach mor mu Inid, 
'Us fear eile mu Chàisg ; 
'S cho fad 's a bhios rud agad, 
Cha bhi thu falamh gu bràth. 
Make a tig cake at Shrove-tide, and another at Easter ; 
and as long as you have anything, you'll never be wanting. 

Dean cnuasachd 's an t-Samhradh, a ni an Geamhradh 
a cbur seachad. 

Gather in Summer what will serve for the Wiiiter. 

Dean do gharadh far an d' rinn thu d' fhuarachadh. 
Warm yourself where you got cold. 
Very cold advice, but not without point. 

Dean do ghearan ri fear gun iochd, 's their e riut 
" tha thu bochd ". 

Complain to a merciless man, and he'll say, ' You are 
-poor '. 

Probably he will say, * Depart in peace, be wanned and filled '. 


Dean do shianadh bho 'n Diabhol 's bho chlann an 

Sain thyself frae the Deil and the lairds bairns — Scot. 
This was probably addressed first by a father to his daughters. 

Dean fan aid air do slieana bhrògan, 'n uair a gheabli 
thu do blirògan nodlia. 

Make game of your old shoes when you get the new ones. 
Don't throw out the dirty water till you get in the clean. 

Dean maorach 'fhad 's a bhios an tràigh ann. 
Get hait lahile the tide is out. 
Dean math 'an aghaidh an uilc. 
Do good against the ill. 
Overcome evil with good. — St. Paul. 

Dean math do dheadh dhuine, 

'S bidli an deadh dhuine do 'reir ; 

Dean math do neo-dhuine, 

'S bidh an neo-dhuine dha fhein. 

Do good to a worthy man, 

And worthy will he be, 

Do good to a ivorthless man, 

And selfish still is he. 
The Ulster version is nearly identical, — 

Dean maith air dheagh-dhuine, 

A's gheabhaidh tu d' a reir ; 

Acht ma ghnidhir maith air dhròch-dhiiine, 

Beidh an dròch-dhiiine do lein. 
Dean na thig dhut, 's chi thu na 's ait leat. 
Do what becomes you, and you'll see what pleases you. 
A neat statement of the doctruie of the TrpeVoi/. 
Deanadh do bhean fhein brochan dhut. 
Let your own wife make gruel for you. 
'Deanamh gad de 'n ghainnimh. 
Making a rope of sand. 
Ex arena funicv;lum nectis. — Lat. 

According to tradition, this was a task imposed on his familiar 
spirit by Michael Scott, the result of Avhich is still to be seen on 
the sands between Leith and Portobello. Another tradition is 
tliat it was imposed on the Fairies by Sir Duncan Campbell of 
Glenorchy, Black Duncan of the Cowl. 

Deireadh feille fag. Leave the fag-end of a fair. 
An excellent advice. 


Deireadh gacli luing' a bàtliadh, 
Deireadli gach àth a losgadh, 
Deireadh flaith a chaineadh. 
Deireadh slàinte osna. 
The end of each ship her drowning. 
The end of each kiln its burning, 
The end of a priiice, reviling. 
The end of health a sigh. 
Al. Deireadh gach comuinn sgaoileadh, 
Deireadh gach bàta 'bristeadh, 
Deireadh gach àth a losgadh, 
Deireadh gach cogaidh sith. 
The end of all meetings to part, 
The end of all boats to be broken, 
The end of all kilns to be burnt, 
The end of all wars peace. 
The Ulster version is, 

Deireadh gach luinge, bàthadh, 
^ Deireadh gach àiche, losgadh, 

Deireadh gach cuirme, caitheamh, 
A's deireadh gach gàire osna. 

Deireadh mo sgeòil mo sguidseadh, dol h-ugam air 
mo dhruim. 

The end of my story a switching on my hack. 

The identity of 'sguidseadh' and 'switching' is obvious. 

Deireadh nan seachd Sathurn' ort ! 

The end of the seven Saturdays to you ! 

No satisfactory explanation can be got of this very familiar 
saying. It has been ingeniously interpreted as referring to the 
end of the seven weeks of Lent, when mutual congratulations are 
given in some Christian countries, in remembrance of the Resur- 
rection-day. But unfortunately for this explanation, the saying 
with us has always conveyed a bad wish instead of a good one. 
It is, in fact, an emphatic form of malediction. The word 
' seachd,' seven, is used, in Gaelic as in Hebrew, to express com- 
pleteness ; e.g., ' Tha mi seachd sgith ' — I am utterly tii-ed. In 
this sense, 'the end of the seven Saturdays to you' might be 
meant to express the wish that the mere fag-end of time might 
be all one would have to enjoy. But the more probable interpre- 
tation is, that it refers to the Crucifixion and the end of Judas. 

Deiseal air gach ni. 
The sumvard course with everything. 
Deas = South, right-hand, ready, dexterous, proper, handsome, 
Deiseil = Deis-iùil, south course, right dii-ection. 


The belief, and the customs associated with it, on this point, 
are very natural, and common to all the principal races of the 

Deoch air a' phathadh nach d' thàinig. 
Drink for the thirst tliat came not. 
Too common an indulgence. 
Deocli-an-doruis. Tlu door-drink. 

The door-drink, or stirrup-cup, is one of the oldest of institu- 
tions. Tlie following pretty verses were composed by a very good 
man, Duncan Lothian : — 

Slàn do d' mhnaoi ghil, slàn do d' mhacaibh, 

Slàn do d' tlieach o 'm binne ceòl ; 

Slàn do d' shràidibh geala gainmhich,. 

Slàn do d' bheanntaibh o 'm bi ceo. 

Bho 'n a thàrladh dhuinn 'bhi sona, 

'Us beairt dhona nach tig ruinn, 

Air ghaol slth, 's air eagal conais, 

Thugar Deoch an Doruis dhuinn !' 

Deoch Chlann-Donuchaidh. 
TJie Robertsons stinmp-ciqj. 
Deoch mhor do Bhrian, 's b'e sin a mhiann. 
A big drink to Brian, and that's his desire. 
Brian's habits would not be considered so singular now as to 
become proverbial. 

Dh' aitlmich mi gur meann a bheireadh a' ghobhar. 

/ knew it woidd be a kid the goat ivoidd bear. 

Dh' aithnichinn air do sheirc do thabhartas. 

I would know your gift by your gradousness. 

Dh' amais thu air do thapadh. 

YoVj lighted on your luck. 

Literally, ' tapadh ' means activity, cleverness, manliness ; 
secondarily, the luck which follows. The only vernacular equiva- 
lent of ' Thank you ' in the Gaelic language is * Tapadh leat '. 

' Dheanadh e rud-eigin do dh-aon duine, ach is beag a' 
chuid dithis e,' mar a thuirt Alastair Uaibhreach mu'n 

It would be something to one man, but it's a, small 
thing for two, as Alexander the Proud said about the 

Alexander the Great is always called 'Uaibhreach' in Gaelic. 

Dheanadh e teadhair de 'n ròinneig. 

He would make a tether of a hair. 


Dheanadh Niall clàrsaichean, na 'n cuireadh each ceòl 

Neil would make harps, if others would put music into 

" Dheanadh sin e," mu 'n dubhairt an cù mu 'n chè. 

' That would do it,' as the dog said about the cream. 

When the dog was desired to lick cream, he asked, ' Why ? ' 
* Because it is spilt,' replied his mistress. ' That would do it,' 
said the dog. — Note by Macintosh. 

Dheanadh tii eaonnag ri d' dhà lurgainn. 

You would quarrel with your oivn two shins. 
At. Bheireadh tu conas a d' leth-lurga — You would get a quarrel 
out of one of your legs. 

Dh' fhalbh ' b' fhearr learn,' 's cha b' fhearr beò e. 

' Would that ' is gone, and it's no loss. 

Dh' fhalbh e 'n a phrineachan 's na shnàthadan. 

It went away in pins and needles. 

Dh' fhalbh Peairt, thuit an drochaid 1 

Perth is gone, the bridge is down ! 

This is said on the occasion of some great catastrophe. The fall 
of the bridge of Perth in 1621, probably originated the saying. 
The old bridge, described by Cant as " a stately building, and a 
great ornament of the toA\Ti," was carried away by successive 
inundations in 1573, 1582, and 1589. On 14th Oct., 1621, says 
Calderwood (cited by Cant in Muse's Threnodie, 1774, pp. 80-82), 
" the stately bridge of Perth, newly completed, consisting of 10 
arches, was destroyed by the high swelling of the river Tay". 
The destruction and alarm caused on this occasion appear to have 
been very great. Another saying in reference to that calamity is, 
'An uair a thuiteas drochaid Pheairt, ni i glag' — Wlien the bridge 
of Perth falls, it will make a noise. 

Dh' flian do mhàthair ri d' bhreith. 
Your mother waited for your birth. 
Said ironically to one in an excessive hurry. 
Dh' fhaodadh da chailleach a chur an dàrna taobh, 
gun dol o thaobh an teine. 

Tvjo old women could dispose of it, without leaving the 

Dh'iarr a' mhuir a bhi 'g a taghal. 
The sea wished to be resorted to. 

A poetical idea, suggested by the daily return of the tide, which 
seems to invite acc[uaintaiice. 


Dh' ith e 'chuid de 'n bhonnach-shodail. 
He eat his share of the flattery -hanrwck. 
Said of sycophantic people. 

Dh' ith e 'm biadh mu 'n d' rinn e 'n t-altachadh. 
He eat the food before saying grace. 

Dh' itheadh e 'chain a bh' aig Pàdruig air Eirinn. 

He would eat St. Patrick's tribute from Ireland. 

See note to ' Cha phàigheadh '. 

In a story about Ossian, given in Campbell's West Higlil. Tales, 
II. 105 (also in Smith's Summer in Skye), it is said of lum, ' Bha 
e dall, bodhar, bacach, 's bha naoidh dealgan daraich 'n a bhi-oinn ; 
's e 'g itheadh na càin a bh' aig Pàdruig air Eirinn' — He was blind, 
deaf, lame, and had nine oaken skewers in his belly; and was 
eating the tribute Patrick had over Ireland. This story was found 
in Barra and in Skye. 

Dh' itheadh na caoraich an cuid roimhe. 
The sheep might eat through it. 
Said of thinly woven cloth. 

Dh' òladh e Loch Slaopain. 

He tvoidd drink Loch Slapin. 

A Skye loch between Strath and Sleat. 

Dh' òladh e 'n sgillinn nach fhac e. 
He woidd drink the 'penny he hadn't seen. 

Dh' òladh e 'pheighinn-phisich. 
He would drink his luck-penny. 
Even if he had the ' penny of Pases,' he would drink it. 

Dhùraichdeadh tu mo luath le uisge. 

You woiUd wish my ashes borne off on the waters. 

Dian-fhàs fuilt, crìon-fhàs ciiirp. 

Great growth of hair, small growth of body. 

Didòmhnmch Slilat-Phailm, 
'S ann ris 'tha mo stoirm ; 
Didòmhnuich Crum-dubh, 
Plaoisgidh mi 'n t-ubh. 
On Palm Sunday is my stir ; on crooked black Sun- 
day Fll peel the egg. 

This saying is obscure. 'Crum-dubh,' apparently for 'crom- 
dubh,' is known in Ireland as the title of the first Sunday of 
August, but in Lochaber it is applied to Easter. 


Diluain a' bhreabain. Shoe-sole Monday. 
Monday of chastisement, the terror of boys. — H. Soc. Diet. 
Diluain 'an deaghaidh na feille. Monday after the fair. 
A day after the fair. — Eng. 

Diocliiiimhneachadli a' phòsaidh, leis cho suaracli 's 
a bha 'bhanais. 

Forgetting the marriage, from the ivretehedness of the 

I had nae mind I was married, my bridal was sae feckless. — Scot. 

Dioghailt fear na dàlach. The tardy man's revenge. 

Diolaidh saothair ainfhiach. Industry pays debt. 

Diombuil buaile, bo gun laogh. 
A fold's reproach, a yeld eoiv. 

Diongam fear ma dh' fhuiricheas mi, agus fuilingeam 

I'll match a man if I stay, and I can suffer a retreat. 

Dirdaoin' a' bhrochain mhoir. Great gruel Thursday. 

It was at one time a custom in the Long Island, if the usual 

drift of seaweed were behind time, to go on Maunday Thursday 

and pour an obhxtion of gruel on a promontory, accompanying the 

ceremony with the repetition of a certain rhyme. 

Dirdaoin la Chaluim-Cliille cliaoimh. 
La 'bu choir a blii deilbh, 
La 'cliur chaorach air seilbh. 
When Tiiursday is dear Columha's day, the warp should 
be prepared, and sheep sent to pasture. 

St. Columba's day is 9th June. Tlie epithet applied to the 
Saint is interesting. 

Direachadh na cailliche air a lurga. 
The old woman's straightening of her leg (hreaJcing it). 
Dithis a cliur cuideachd agus am bualadh ri 'cheile. 
To put two together, and knock them against each 

Dithis leis nach toigh a chtìle, 
Bean a' mhic 's a màthair-clièile. 
Two that love not one another. 
The sons wife and his mother. 
Diù na comhairle, a toirt far nach gabhar i. 
The worst advice, given and not taken. 


Diù rath an donihain, 'us diù clatli an domliain ann; 
buidhe, dubh, 'us riabhacli. 

Worst lot in the world, and worst colours on earth are 
there, yellow, black, and brindled. 

A punning satire on Jura, by a discontented poetess — Camp- 
bell's IF. H. Tales, II. 353. 

Diùthaidh nam beatliaichean firionn. 
The refuse of male creatures. 
Said of a very contemptible man. 
Dleasaidh airm urram. Arms merit honour. 
DKithas nan càirdean ri clièile. 
The nearness of kiiidred to each other. 
Do rogha leannain, 's do theann-shàth sprèidh' ort ! 
Thy choice of siocet-heart, and full store of cattle to thee ! 
Do spuir fhein 'an each fir eile. 
Your oivn spurs in another man's horse. 
Al. ' Mo shlat fhein ' — My omn switch. See ' Cha bhi each. '. 
Dona uime, dona aige. Ill with it, ill with him. 
This means that a curmudgeon gets little good of that which 
he so grudges to part with. 

Dònull da fhein. Donald for himself. 
Dorcha, doirionnta, dubh, 
'Chiad tri làithean de 'n Gheamhradhj 
Ge b'e bheir geill do 'n spreidh, 
Cha tugainn fhein gu Samhradh. 
Dark, sidlen, and black, 
The three first days of Winter ; 
TVJwever depends on the cattle, 
I would not till Summer. 
It was considered a good sign to have Winter beginning with 
dark weather ; but the reference to the cattle seems to imply, that 
one ought not to be sanguine about them, notwithstanding. 

Droch bhàs ort ! A bad death to you ! 
Al. 'Droch dhiol' — bad usage; 'droch sgiorram' — bad stumbling. 
Droch còmhdhail ort ! Bad raeeting to you ! 
The wish conveyed is, that one may meet a person or animal 
whom it was considered unlucky to meet. 

Druidear bial nam briag. The lying mouth will be shut. 
Druididh gach ian ri 'ealtainn. 
Uach bird draws to hisfiock. 


Eunlaith an aon eite a n-èinfheacht ag eitiollaigh.— /r. 

The birds will resort unto their like.— /So7i, of Sirach. 

"Ofioiov òfiotcù 0iXoi/. — Gr. Siniile appetit simile. — Lat. 

Pares cum paribus facUlime congregantur. — Cic. 

Birds of a feather flock together. — Eng., Scot. 

Vogel von gleichen Federn fliegen gern beisammen. — Germ. 

Elk zijns gelijk, 't zij arm of rijk. — Dutch. 

Qui se ressemble s' assemble. — Fr. 

Simili con simili vanno.- — Ital. 

Cada oveja con su pareja. — Span. 

Driiim a' sgadain, tàrr a' bhradain, 's cùl-cinn a' bhric- 

The herrinrjs hack, tJie salmon's belli/, and hack of head 
of black trout. 

The choice parts. 

Duais fir dhatliaidh a' chiun. 

The reward of the man that singes the head. 

Duine coir an rathaid mhoir 's beisd mhor a's tigh, 

A fine man abroad, and a great beast at home. 

Angel penfford, a diawl pentan. — Welsh. 

A causey saint, and a house deil. — Scot. 

See ' Euchdach,' and ' 01c mu 'n '. 

Duine dùr, duine gun tùr. 

A stubborn man, a senseless man. 

Duine gun rath gun seòl, 's coir a chrochadh ; 's fear 
aig am bi tuille 's a choir, 's coir a chrochadh. 

A man vjith no luck or shift should be hanged ; and so 
should a man with too much. 

Hang him that has nae shift, and hang him that has ower 
mony. — Scot, 

Dùnan math innearach, màthair na ciste-mine. 

The muck-midden is the mither o' the meal-kist. — Scot. 

Dùthaich nan ckiaran, nam fuaran, nan cuaran, 's nam 
fuar-bheann ! 

The land of thistles, and fountains, of brogues, and of 
mountains ! 

This is a toast. 


Eadar a' bhaobh 's a' bhuarach. 

'T'wixt the vixen and the cow-fetter. 
' Betwixt the Devil and the deep sea.' 

It was a superstitious fancy that if a man got struck hy the 
'buarach' he would thenceforth be childless ! 

Eadar a' chlach 's an sgrath. 
'Twixt the stone mid the turf, 
Eadar a' chraobh 's a rùsg. 
Between the tree and its hark. 
Eadar am bogha 's an t-sreang. 
Between the how and the string. 
Eadar am fiar 's am fodar. 
Between the hay and the straw. 
Eadar an long nodha 's an seann mdha. 
Between the new ship and the old headland. 
' Nodha' is a less common form of ' nuadh '. 
Eadar an sùgh 's an t-slat. 
Between the sap and the sapling. 
Eadar an t-euradh 'us aimbeairt. 
Between denial and want. 

This was said by Fingal to be the worst plight he ever was in. — 
See ' An uaisle '. 

Eadar an tuthadh 's an raineach. 

Between the thatch and the hracken. 

Eadar dhà chathair tuitear gu làr. 

Between two scats one comes down. 

Thainig a ton chun talamh eadar a dha sdòl. — Ir. 

Eddyr daa stoyl ta toyn er laare. — Manx. 

Between two stools the tail goeth to ground.— Eng. 

Tusschen twee stoelen valt de aars op de aarde. — Dutch. 

Entre deux selles, le cul à terre. — Fr. 

Eadar dha lionn. 'Twixt sinking and swimming. 
Lit. 'Between two liquids,' i.e., the upper and lower water. 
Eadar dha sgial. By the way. 
Lit. ' Between two stories.' Al. ' dha naigheachd.' 


Eadar dhà theine. 

Betwixt two fires. 

Eadar long 'us làimhrig. 

Betwixt ship and landing-place, 

Eadar fheala-dhà 's a rireadh. 

Betwixt fun and earnest. 

Eadar lamb 'us taobh. 

Bettvixt hand and side. 

Eadar leòir 'us eatorras. 

Betimxt plenty and mediocrity. 

Eadar na srutbaibb. 

Betwixt the currents. 

Eadraiginn nan ceard.. 

Going hcttveen tinkers. 

Those who in quarrels interpose 
Must often wipe a bloody nose. — Gay. 

See ' Bidh dòrn '. 

Eallacb mbor an duine leisg. 

The lazy man's great burden. 

Who more busy than they that have least to do ? — Eng., Scot. 

Uomo lento non ha niai tempo. — Ital. 

Earbsa a claidbeamb briste. 

Trusting to a broken sword. 

Earracb fad' 'an deigh Càsga, fàgaidh e na saibhlean fas. 

Long Spring after Easter makes empty barns. 

Earrag-cbeilidb. A visiting stroke. 

Said of one hiu-t when on a visit. 

Easgaidh mu'n ratbad mbor seacb a dborus fbein. 

More quick to shovj the high road than his own door. 

See ' Am fear nach 'eil math '. 

Eibbeall air gruaidb — mnatban-luaidb 'us tàiUeirean. 

Live-coal on cheek — luaulking-ivomen and tailors. 

The good-wife who had to provide for a company of vigorous 
women coming to assist her in waulking cloth, or tailors coming 
to work in the house for days, and expecting, of course, to be well 
treated, might be supposed to have no sinecure. 

Eirigb tonn air uisge balbb. 

Wave ivill rise on silent ^vater. 

And calm people when stirred may astonish. 


Eisd ri gaoth nam beaun gus an traoigh na h-uisg- 

Listen to the mountain tuind, till the streams abate. 

Eisd le goith na m-beann, go d-thraoghaidh na h-uisgibh.— /r. 

Eòin a chur do 'n choille. 

Sending birds to the wood. 

Sending owls to Athens, &c. 

Euchdach a muigh, 'us breineach a's tigh. 

Distinguished abroad, disgusting at home. 

See '01c mu'n\ 

End bean a' chruiteir. 

The harper's wife's jealousy. 

See ' Dàrna bean,' and ' Cha dean sinn '. 

Eudail de dh' fhearaibh an achaidh ! 

Treasure of all men of the field ! 

Al. de dli' fhearaibh na dile. 

Eudail de mhnathan an domhain ! 

Treasure of all vjomen of the world ! 

These emphatic phrases are sometimes used jocosely, sometimes 
in real earnest. 

Eug 'us imrich a chlaoidheas tigheadas. 
Death and fitting are hard on housekeeping. 
Eug a's imirce a chlaoidheas tigheabhas.— /r. 


Fad a clioise do'n laogh, 's fad an taoid do'n chuilein- 

The length of his foot to the calf, the length of the leash 
to the luhclp. 

Fad fin foinneach an la. The live-long day, 

Al. Fad fionna-fuaireanach. 

Fada blio'n t-sùil, fada blio'n chridhe. 

Far from the eye, far from the heart. 

Al. As an t-sealladh, as a' chuimline. 

A bh-fhad as amharc, a g-ciann as intinn. — Ir. 

Ass sliilley, ass smooinagtyn. — Manx. 

Allan oiwg allan o feddwl. — Welsh. 

Qui procul ab oculis, prociil a limite cordis. — Lat 

Far from eye, far from heart — Out of sight, out of mind. — Eng. 

Ans den Augen, aus dem Sinn. — Germ. 

Langt fra Oine, snart af Sinde. — Dan, 

Uit het oog, uit het hart. — Dutch. 

Loin des yeux, loin de coeur. — Fr. 

Fada bhuaithe, mar a chunnaic Ailein a sheanmhair. 

Far off, as Allan saw his grandmother. 

At a distance, as Paddy saw the moon. 

Fadal Chlann-an-Tòisich. 

TJie delay of the Macintoshes. 

Fag cuid ditliis a' feitheamh an f hir a bhios a muigh. 

Leave the share of two for him that is away. 

Fag, fag ! . tliuirt an flieannag, 's i mo nigliean a' 
gbarrag dhdnn. 

Go, go ! said the crow, that hrown chick is my child. 

This is an imitation of the cry of the bird. Of the same kind 
are the following expressive nursery rhymes : — 

The Gull. — ' Gliag, gliag,' ars an fhaoileag, ' 's e mo mhac-s' an 
daobh-gheal donn.' 

TJie Crow. — ' Gòrach, gòrach,' ars an fheannag, "s e mo mhac-e' 
an garrach gorni.' 

The Raven. — ' Gròc, gròc,' ars am fitheach, ' 's e mo mhac-s' a 
chrimeas na h-uain.' 

The Eagle. — ' Glig, glig,' ars an iulair, ' 's e mo mhac-s' a's 
tighearn oirbh.' 


Fàgaidh sìoda, sròl, 'us sgàrlaid, 

Gun teine gun tuar an fhàvdacli. 
Silk and satin and scarlet leave the hearth cold and 

Silks and satins put out the fire in the kitchen. — >Eng. 
Sammt und Seide loschen das Feiier in der Kiiche aus. — Germ. 

Fàgaidb tu e mar gu 'm fàgadh bo a buachar. 

You leave it as a caw her dung. 

Fàgar an t-inneach gu deireadh. 

The woof is left to the last. 

Faicill a' cliuain-mhoir air a' chaol chumliang. 

The vjide ocean's watch o'er the narroio strait. 

Faicill gach duine dlia fhdin, 'an sabhal, no 'n 
ceardaich, air lath' an Fhoghair. 

Every man for himself in lam or smithy on a harvest 

Failte na circe mu 'n àrd-dorus. 

The hen's salute at the lintel. 

Fàinne mu 'n mhiar, 's gun snàitlme mu 'n mhas. 

Ringed finger and hare buttock. 

Fàl fa'n mear, 's gan ribe fa'n tòin. — Ir. 

Of empty stomach, yet he chews incense. — Arab. 

Falach a' chait air a- shalachar. 

The cat's hiding of the nasty. 

Trying to hush up an offence after it has been exposed. 

' Falbhaidh mis' am màireach/ ars an righ. 

• Fanaidli tu riumsa,' ars a' ghaoth. 

' / shall go to-morrow^ said the king. 

' You shall wait for me', said the wind. 

' Sail,' quoth the king ; ' Hold,' quoth the wind. — -E'ngr., ficot. 

Fanaidh duine sona ri sith, 'us bheir duine dona 

The fortunate man waits for peace, and the unlucky 
man takes a leap in the dark. 

Fanann duine sona le sèun (for luck) agus bheir duine dona 
dul>h-lèum. — Ir. 

Once upon a time a great man was getting a sword made. The 
smith's advice for tlie perfect tempering of the blade was that it 
should be thrust red hot through the body of a living man. A 
messenger was to be sent for the sword, on whom it was agreed 


that this experiment should be performed. The lad sent was 
overtaken by a thunder-storm, and took refuge till it had passed. 
Meantime the chief sent another messenger for the sword, who 
duly went and asked for it, and was served as had been arranged. 
Presently the first messenger came in, got the sword from the 
smith, and took it to his master. The great man was not a little 
astonished to see him, and asked where he had been. He told 
him how he had done, on which the great man uttered the above 

For another version, see Campbell's W. H. roZes,III.110, 394, 
where the story is connected with the making of Fingal's famous 
sword, Mac-an-Luinn. 

Fanaidh Moisean ri 'latha. 
27ie Devil waits his day. 

' Moisean' or ' Muisein,' means literally 'the mean fellow,' and 
it is very commonly applied to the Devil by old Highlanders. 

Fannan de ghaoith near, leannan an t-sealgair. 
A gentle easterly breeze, the hunters delight. 

Faodaidh a' chaora dol bàs, a' feitheamh ris an fhiar ùr. 
The sheep may die, waiting for the new grass. 
Faghann na heich has, fhad a's bhios a fèur a fas. — Ir. 
Live, ass, till the clover sprout. — Arab. 

Z^cTf, fiàvpe fiov, va c{)as rpicfiiXXi — Live, my donkey, till you 
eat trefoil.— Afod Gr. 

Mentre I'erba cresce, muore il cavallo. — It. 

Indessen das Gras wachst, werliungert der Gaul. — Germ. 

Ne meurs, cheval, herbe te vient. — Fr. 

While the grass groweth, the seely horse starveth. — Eng. 

The coo may dee ere the grass grow. — Scot. 

Faodaidh cat sealltainn air righ. 
A cat may look on a king. — Ung. 

Al. Faodaidh luach sgillinn de chat sealltainn 'am bathais an 
righ — A tivalpenny cat may look at a king. —Scot. 
Sieht doch wohl die Katze den Kaiser an. — Germ. 
Een kat kijkt wel een' keizer an. — Dutch. 

Faodaidh duine dol air muin eich gun dol thairis air. 
A man may mount a horse without tumbling over. 

Faodaidh duine 'chuid itheadh, gun a chluasan a 

A mail may take his food without daubing his ears. 

Faodaidh duine sa' bith gàir' a dheanamh air cnoc. 
Any man may laugh on a hill side. 


Faodaidh e 'blii gur duine math thu, ach cba 'n 'eil 
gniiis deadh dhuin' agad, mu'ii dubhairt Xiall naiu 
beann ris a' chat. 

Yoio may be a good man, hut you havent the face of 
one, as Neil of the mountain said to the cat. 

Faodaidh fear na riiith Iciim. 
He that runs may Icajy. 

Faodaidh fearg sealltainn a steach 'an cridh' an duine 
ghlic, ach còmhnaichidh i 'n cridh' an amadain. 

Anger may look in on a tvise mans heart, hut it abides 
in the heart of a fool. 

Anger restetli in the bosom of fools. — EccL. "\di. 9. 

Faodaidh freumhan cam a bhi aig faillean direach. 
A straight sapling may have a crooked root. 

Faodaidh gnothach an righ tighinn 'an rathad cailleach 
nan cearc. 

The king's business may come in the way of the henivife. 
The king may come in the cadger's gait. — Scot. 

Faodaidh hiingeas 'mòr dol air taisdeal fada, 
Ach feumaidli sgothan beaga seòladli dlùth do'n 

Big ships may sail to distant strand. 
But little boats must hug the land. 

Faodaidh seann each sitir a dheanamh. 
An old horse may neigh. 

Faodaidh sinn eag a chur 's an ursainn. 

We may cut a notch in the doorpost. 

Said on the occasion of a long expected or unexpected visit, = 
marking the day with a white stone. Macintosh's version is— 
' Feudaidh sinn crois a choir 's an tuire ; crois an tuire, crois an 
sgxiirre,' translated, ' We may strike a hack in the post. Nay, 'tis 
unlucky, replies the guest.' 

' Eag,' or ' crois, 's a' chlodha,' a notch, or cross in the tongs, or 
' 's a' ghobhal, ' in the supporting-beam, are variations. 

Faodar an t-òr fhèin a cheannach tuille 'us daor. 
Gold itself may be bought too dear. 
Feadaim or do cheannach go daor. — Ir. 
Gowd may be dear cost. — Scot. 
Aurimi irrepertum, et sic melius situm. — Hor. 


Faoigh' a' gliliocais. The prudent legging. 
Begging for assistance in setting up house. See note to * Cha 
'n e rogha'. 

Faoighe fir gun chaoraich. 
The contribution of a man vjitìiout sheep. 
Al. ' Fir falaimh.' A contribution of wool from a man -vAÌthout 
sheep would be suspicious. 

Faoileag an droch chladaich. Tlie sea-gull of a had shore. 
Applied to poor creatures, still preferring their wretched home. 

Faoileag na li-aon chloiche. The sea-gull of one stone. 

Faoilleacli, Faoilleach, làmli 'an crios, 
Faoilte mhor bu choir 'bhi ris ; 
Crodh 'us caoraich 'ruitli air theas, 
Gal 'us caoin bu choir 'bhi ris. 
February cold and keen, 
Welcome hath it ever been ; 
Sheep and cattle running hot, 
Sorrow that will bring, I wot. 
Al. Faoilleach, Faoilleach, crodh air theas, 
Gal 'us gaoir nitear ris, 
Faoilleach, Faoilleach, crodh 'am preas, 
Fàilt' 'us faoilte nitear ris. 
February, cows in heat, 
Sorrow will the season greet ; 
February, cows in wood. 
Welcome is the weather good. 

Faothachadh gille 'ghobha; bho na h-iiird gus na 

The relief of the smith's lad, from the hammer to the 

Sgiste ghioUa an ghobha, ò na builg chum na h-inneoin. — Ir. 

Far am bi a' mhuc, bidh fail. 
Where the sow is a stye luill be. 

Far am bi an deadh-dhuine, is duin' e 'n cuideachd 's 
'n a aonar. 

Where a good man is, he is a man, whether in company 
or alone. 

Far am bi an t-iasg, 's ann a bhios na h-eòin. 
Where the fish is, the birds will be. 


Far am bi bo bidli bean, 's far am bi bean biclh buair- 

Where a cow is, a ivoman will he, and where a woman 
is will he temptation. 

Al. For ' buaireadh,' 'mollachd,' 'clragh,' 'aimlireit,' miscliief, 
trouble, strife. 

This saying is attributed to St. Columba, who for the time must 
have forgotten that he and his brethren needed mothers. 

Far am bi cearcan bidh gràcan. 
Where hens are will he cachling. 

Far am bi cnocan bidh fasgadh. 
Where a hillock is will he shelter. 

Far am bi do chràdh bidh do làmh; far am bi do 
ghràdh bidh do thathaich. 

Where your pain is your hand vjill he ; cohere your 
love is your haunting will he. 

Al. Far am bi mo ghaol, bidh mo thathaich. 

Far am bi geòidh, bidh iseanan. 

Where geese are will goslirigs he. 

Far am bi mi fhein, bidh mo thuagh. 

Where I am myself, my axe vnll he. 

Said by a smith who always carried an axe, on being asked to 
leave it behind him. He added, ' Gach ni riamh ge 'n d'fhuair, 
's ann air mo thuaigh a bhuidheachas' — Wiiatever I have got, 
thanks to my axe for it. 

Far am bi saoir, bidh sliseagan, 
Far am bi mnài, bi giseagan. 
Where carpenters are, toill he shavings, 
Where women are, will he spells. 
Al. 'Far am bi cailleachan' — Where old wives are. 

Far am bi toil bidh gniomh. 

Come will come deed. 

Where there's a will there's a way. — Eng. 

Far an caill duin' a sporan is ann a 's coir dha 'iarraidh. 
iiniere a man loses his purse, he should look for it. 
Donde perdiste la capa (cape), ay la cata. — Sjpan. 

Far am faic thu toll cuir do chorag ann. 
Where you see a hole put your finger in. 


Far an laidh na fir, 's ann a dh' èireas iad. 

Where men lie down they will get up. 

Al. ' Far an suidli' — IViiere they sit. 

Far an sàmhaich' an t-uisge, 's ann a's doimlm' e. 

Where water is stillest it is deepest. 
Is ciun agus sostach sruth na linnte lana, 
Ni h-è sin do 'n t-sruth eadtrom, si bhagras go dana. — Ir. 

Altissima quseque flumina minimo sono labuntur. — Curtius. 

Dove il tiume ha piii fondo, fa minor strepito.— /t. 

Do va mas hondo el rio, hace menos ruido. — Sjxm. 

Stille Wasser sind tief. — Germ. Stille waters hebben diepe 
gronden.— Dutch. Det stille Vand bar den dybe Grand. — Dan. 
Deepest waters stillest go. — Eiig. Smooth waters rin deep. — Scot. 

Far an taine 'n amhuinn, 's ann a's mo a fuaim. 

Where the stream is shalloioest, greatest is its noise. 

'S e an-tuisge is èadomhuiue is mo tormàn. — Ir^ 

Basaf yw'r dwfr yn yd lefair.— Welsh. 

Far nach bi am beag, cha blii am mor. 

Where no little is no big will be. 

Far nach bi na coin, cha leigear iad. 

Where dogs are not they can't be started. 

Far nach bi na feidh, cha reidh an toirt as. 

From the place where deer are not, tlieyWe not easy to 
be got. 

Far nach bi na fireinich, cha bhi na fir mhora. 

Wliere there are no mannikins, there will be no big men. 

Far nach bi na mic-uchd, cha bhi na fir-fheachd. 

Where there are, no boys in arms, there will be no armed, 

So long as Britain keeps an army, this saying ought not to be 
forgotten, especially in the Highlands. 

Far nach bi na failleanan, cha bhi na cnothau. 
Where no suckers are, there will be no nuts. 
Far nach bi ni, caillidh an righ a choir. 
Where no cattle are, the king will lose his due. 
Wliere there Is naething, the king tines his right. — Scot. 
Far nach cinnich an spàrr, cha chinnich na 's fhearr. 
Where the hen-roost thrives not, neither ivill whafs better. 
Far nach ionmhuinnduine,is ann a'sfhasa'eigneachadh. 
Wliere a man is not beloved, it is easiest to overcome him. 


Faram, 's na toiream, fasan Chlann-Dònuill. 

Give me, hut let me not give — tiie MacDonald fasTiion. 

Al. 'S ann de shliochd 'Faram 's cha toirinn' thu. 

Ye come o' the Mac Taks, and no' o' the Mac Gies. — Scot. 

Farraid air fios, farraid a's miosa a th' ann. 

Asking what one knoivs, the worst hind of asking. 

Al. Foighneachd air fios, foighneachd a 's mios' air bith. 

See 'An rud a chuir na Maoir'. 

Farraid de dhiiin' a glialar. 

Ask a man lohat his ailment is. 

Farraididh a h-uile fear, ' c6 a rinn e ? ' ach clia 'n 
f harraid iad, ' cia f had a bha iad ris ? ' 

Every one will ask, ' who made it ? ' hut they won't ask, 
'how long was it in making?' 

Fas a' ghruinnd a reir an uachdarain. 

The yield of the ground is according to the landlord. 

This is an important truth in Political Economy. 

Fàsaidh an fheòil 'fhad's is beo an smior. 

The flesh will grovj wliile the marroio lives^ 

See ' Gleidhidh cnàimh '. 

Fead air fuar-luirg. iVliistling on cold track. 

A wild-goose chase— no scent. 

Feadag, Feadag, màthair Faoillich fhuair. 

Plover, Plover, mother of cold Month of Storms. 

This was the name of certain days in February. See App. IV. 

Feadaireachd bhan 'us gairm cliearc. da ni toirmisgt'. 

Whistling of xoomen and crowing of hens, two forhidden 

Al. Nigheanan a' feadaireachd, 'us cearcan a' glaodhaich. 

Al. Gairm circe, 'us fead maighdne. 

A whistling wife, and a crowing hen. 

Will call the old gentleman out of his den. — Eng. 

Une poule qui chante le coq, et mie fille qui siffle, porte mal- 
heur dans la maison. — Fr. 

See 'B' e sin a' chearc'. 

Feadaireachd mu'n bhuail' fliais, 'us garadh mu'n 

IVliistling round the em'pty fold, and wall round the 
refuse corn. 

Feannadh na fride air son a geire. 

Flaying the tetter for its tallow. 


Fear a' chinn duibli 's na fiasaige ruaidhe, na teirig 
eadar e 's a' chreag. 

Black head, red heard — doiiH go hetween him and the 

Fear a clmirear a dh-aindeoin do 'n allt, bristidli e na 

He that goes umoillingly for water ivill break the pitcher. 

Fear a' ghearain-ghnà, cha 'n fhaigh e trua.s 'n a chàs. 
He that always comiJlains is never pitied. — Ung. 

Fear 'am baile 's aire as, 's fhearr as na ann e. 
A man in a farm and his thoughts away is better out 
of it than in it. 

Fear 'an àite fir 's e 'dh' fhàgas am fearann daor. 
Tenant after tenant makes the land dear. 

Fear an ime mhoir, 's e 's binne glòir. 

The man of great ivealth has the sweetest voice. 

Lit. ' Of great butter.' 

Fear an t-saoghail fhada, cha blii baoghal h-uige. 

The man of long life will escape danger. 

He can't die before liis time. See ' Clia tig am bàs'. 

Fear cleite gun bhogsa, 'us bleidire gun amharus. 
A quill-driver ivithout a box, and a beggar without 

Extraordinary tMngs. 

Fear dubh dàna ; fear ban bleideil ; 
Fear donn dualach ; 's fear ruadh sgeigeil. 
Black man bold ; fair man officious ; 
Broivn man curly ; red man scornful. 
Fear dubli dana ; fear fionn glideamhnil, (timid) ; 
Fear donn dualach ; fear ruadli sgigeamliuil. — Ir. 
Fair and foolish ; black and proud ; 
Long and lazy ; little and loud. — Eng., Scot. 

Fear faire na h-aon sùla. TJie one-eyed watcher. 
This is a legendary chai-acter — Ai-gus, but one-eyed. 

Fear gealtach 's an aoir. 

A timid man at the main-slteet. 

The wrong man for the place. 


Fear gu aois, 'us bean gu bàs. 
A man to full age, a woman till death. 
A sou must be maintained till of age, a daughter, if unmarried, 
for life. 

My son is my son, till he's got him a wife, 

My daughter's my daughter all the days of her life. — Eng., Sco*- 

Fear na bà fhèin 's a' pholl 'an toiseach. 

Let the cow's owner go first into the mire. 

He that ows the coo gaes nearest her tail. — Hcot. 

Fear ua foill' 'an iochdar ! 

Let the knave he kept under ! 

Fear nach cuir cùl ri 'charaid no ri 'nàmliaid. 

A man that won't turn his hack on friend or foe. 

Fear nach reic 's nach ceannaich a' choir. 

A man who will neither sell nor huy the right. 

Fear nach trèig a chaileag, no 'chompanach. 

A man that won't forsake his lass nor his comrade. 

Fear sa'bith a dh'òlas bainne capaill le spàin chrioth- 
uiun, cha' ghabh e 'n triuthach ach aotrom. 

He that drinks mare's milk with an aspen ^oon will 
take hooping-cough lightly. 

The iirst part of this prescription is rational ; the virtue of the 
spoon was supposed to be derived from the sacred character of the 
aspen tree. 

Fear sa' bith a loisgeas a mhàs, 's e fhem a dh'fheumas 
suidhe air. 

Whoever hums Ms hottorn must himself sit on it. 

Fear uiread fuighill rium, ag iarraidh fuighill orm, 

A man ivith leavings as hig as mine asking leavings 
of me. 

Fèath FaoHlich 'us gaoth luchair, cha mhair iad fada. 

Fchruary cabn mid Dog-days' ivind vjont last long. 

Al. F. F. 'us trod chàirdean, cha 'n fhad a mhaireas — F. calm 
and friends' quarrels. 

Al. F. F. 'us gaol seòladair — F. calm and sailor's love. 

Al. F. F.'us gaol guanaig, da ni air bheagan buanais — F. calm 
and flirt's love, two things of short endurance. 

Feith ri 'dheireadh. Await the end. 

Respice finem. — Lat. 

This is the Kennedy motto : Avisez la fin — Consider the end. 


Feitheamh an t-sionnaich ri sithionn an tairbh. 
The fox's waiting for the bull's flesh. 
Feitheamh facia ri eòrna na gainmhich. 
Zoiig waiting for the sandy harley. 
Barley sown in sand comes to nothing. 

rèuch an laogh blàr buidlie dhomh, 's na feuch a chuid 

Shoiv me the white-faced yellow calf, and not what he is 
fed on. 

Taisbean an laogh biadhta, acht na taisbean an nidh a bhiadht- 
aigh e. — Ir. 

Dangos y Ho, ac na ddangos y llaeth — Show the calf, and not 
the milk. — Welsh. 

Ne'er shaw me the meat but the man. — Scot. 

Feuch gu bheil do theallach fhein sguabte, mu 'n tog 
tbu luath do clioimhearsnaich. 

See that your own hearth is sivept, before you lift your 
neighbour's ashes. 

Sweep before your own door. — Eng. Veeg eerst voor uwe 
eigene deur, en dan voor die uws bimrmans. — Dutch. 

Feuch nach gabh do shùil air. 

See that your eye doesn't rest on it. 

Alluding to the dreaded gift of the Evil Eye. 

Feumaidh am fear a bhios 'n a eigin beairt-eididh a 

He that's in straits must make a shift to clothe himself. 

Feumaidh an talamh a chuid fhein. 

The earth maist have its portion. 

This means the Grave, = All must die. 

Feumaidh fear caithimh fhaoilidh spreidh no bunachar, 

A liberal spender needs cattle or substance. 

Feumaidh fear na h-aona-bhà car dh' a h-earball mu 

The man of one coiv must twist her tail round his fist. 

He must look well after her. This is an Uist saying. 

Feumaidh fear nan cuaran eirigh uair roimh fhear nam 

The mem of the sock must rise an hour before the wearer 
of shoes. 

The lacing on of the ' cuaran' was a tedious affair. 


rèiimaidh gach beò a bheatliachadh. 
Every living thing must have a living. 

Feumaidh na fitliich fhèin a bhi beò. 

The ravens themselves must live. 

Thad 's a bliios a sliùil 'an ceilidh an t-saoghail so. 
As long as he has an eye to sojourning in this world. 

Thad 's a bhios cù cam, no duine direach. 
As long as a dog is lent, or a man straight. 

Fhuair e car troimh 'n deathaich. 

He got a turn through the smoke. 

It was the custom to put a newly christened child into a basket, 
and hand it across the fire, in order to counteract the power of evil 
spirits. — Note in 2nd Ed. of Macintosh. 

Fhuair thu fios an eagail. 
You have learned what fear is. 
Said when one has had a narrow escape. 

Fialachd do 'n fhògarach, 's cnàimhean briste do 'n 
caicorach ! 

Hosjntality to the exile, and hrohen hones to the op- 

A generous and good sentiment. 

Fior no briag, millear bean leis. 
True or false, it will injure a woman. 

Alas ! for the rarity 

Of Christian charity 

Under the sun ! — Hood. 

Fios fithich gu ròic. 

The raven's boding of a feast. 

Fir a' chladaich 'us bodaich Ms ; daoin-uaisle Uige. 

The shore men and bodies of Ness ; the geiitlemen of Uig. 

Ness is a district in the north of Lewis ; Uig a parish in the 
west of the island. The above saying must have originated in 
the latter, the Ness men being generally regarded as fine specimens 
of mixed Scandinavian and Celtic blood. 

Fitheach dubh air an tigh, fios gu nighean an dath- 

A black raven on the roof, learning to the dyer's daughter. 
Probably a death omen. 


Miuch do shùil mu 'n gabh i air. 
Wet your eye lest it light on him. 
A I. ' Mu'n cronaich tliu e ' — Lest you hurt him. 
This again alludes to the Evil Eye, against which wetting the 
eye acted like a counter-spell. 

To mliaide na poite. Under the ijot-stick. 

Said of a henpecked man. 

Foghar an aigh — ial 'us fras. 

Finest autumn, sun and shoiver. 

Fogliar fada 's beagan buana. 

Long harvest arid little rea^nng. 

Foghar gu NoUaig, 

'Us Geamhradli gu Feill-Padruig ; 

Earrach gu Feill-Peadair ; 

Samhradh gu Feill-]\Iàrtainn. 

Autumn to Christmas; Winter to St. Patrick's Bay; 

Spring to St. Peters Day ; Summer to Martinmas. 

St. Patrick's Day, 17th March ; St. Peter's Day, 29th June. 

Foghar nam ban breid-gheal. 

The harvest of young widows. 

A prophecy of a time when all the men would be slain in battle. 

Foghnadh 'us fuigheah 

Enough and to spare. 

Fdghnaidh salann salach air im ròinneagach. 

Dirty salt will do for hairy imtter. 

Foighidinn nam ban — a trl 

Women's patience — till you count three. 

Fois luchaig 'am balg, 's fois deargainn 'an osan. 

A mouses rest in a hag, and ajlee's in a stocking. 

Fois radain 'an cònlaich. 
A rat's rest among straw. 

Freagraidh a' bhriogais do'n mhàs. 
The trousers will suit the seat. 
Al. Is coltach an triubhas ris, &c. 
This is a Cowai saying. 

Fuachd caraid', 's fuachd anairt, cha do mhair e fada 

The coldness of a frieiul and of linen never lasted l&ng. 


Fuaim mor air bheagan leòin. 

Great noise and little hurt. 

This might apply to platoons of musketry, before arms of pre- 
cision were known. 

Fuatli giullain, a chiad leannan. 

A hoy's hate, Ids first love. 

Fuighleach an tàiUeir shàthaicli, làn spàine 'chabh- 

The leavings of the full tailor, a, spoonful of sowens. 

Al. Fuighleach tàiUeii', dà bhuntàta — A tailor's leavings, two 

Fuil bhàiL, 'us craieionn slàn. 

White blood, and ivhole skin. 

Said to children who fancy they have been hui't. 

Fuilingidh gacli beathach a blii gu math acli mac an 

Every creature hut the son of man can hear well-being. 

Fuine bean a' mhuilleir, làidir, tiugh. 

The miller's luife's kneading, strong and thick. 

Fuirich thus' 'an sin gus an tig feum ort, mar a thuirt 
am fear a thiodhlaic a bhean. 

Stay you there till you are wanted, as the man said 
who buried his loife. 

Furain an t-aoidh a thig, greas an t-aoidh 'tha 'falbh. 
Welcome the coming, speed the parting gvest. 

Foster the guest that stays, further him that maun gang. — Scot. 

Gabli an clileag leis a' chriomaig. 

Take the drop vnth the sop. 

Gabh an latha math 'fhad '& a gheabh tliu e. 

Take the good day ivhile you may. 

Gabh an toil 'an ait' a' ghniomh. 

Take the tvill for the deed. 

Gabhadli iad air mo chrodh 's a' chladach ; an uair a 
bhios mo bhreacan air mo ghualainn, bidh mo bhuaile- 
cliruidh ann. 

Let them pelt my cattle on the leach ; when my plaid is 
over my shoulder, it's my cattle-fold. 

Said by one who has nothing to lose, = Omnia niea mecum 

Gabhaidh biadh na cnò roinn. 

The kernel of a nut caii he divided. 

Al. Gabhaidh da leth deanamh air an eitein. 

Al. Ge beag eitean na cnò, gabhaidh e roinn. 

Gabhaidh an connadh flinch^ ach cha ghabh a' chlach. 
Wd fuel will hurn^ hut stones won't. 
Gabhaidh connadh ùr le 'bhi 'g a &hèideadh. 

Fresh fuel will hurn if hloivn. 

Al. Gabhaidh fraoch nobha — Neio heather will hurn. 

Gabhaidh fear na sròine moire a' h-uile rud g' a 
ionnsaidh fhein. 

The hig-nosed man takes emrything to himself. 

He that has a muckle nose thinks ilka ane sj^eaks o't. — Scot. 

Gabhaidh gach sruth a dh-ionnsaidh na h-aimhne, 's 
gach amhainn do 'n chiian. 

Every stream runs into the Hver, cmd every river into 
the sea. 

All the rivers run into the sea. — Eccl. i. 7. 

Gabhaidh lothag fhiadhta siol a boinneid. 
A shy filly will take corn out of a bonnet. 


Gach cailleach gii 'cùil fliein. 
Every old woman to her own corner. 

Gach dan gu Dan an Deirg ; 

Gach laoidh g-u Laoidh an Amadain Mhoir ; 

Gach sgèul gu Sgeul Chonaill ; 

Gach cliù gu Cliù Eoghain ; 

Gach moladh gu moladh Loch Ce. 

All songs up to the Song of the Red One ; 

All lays up to the Lay of the Great Fool ; 

All tales up to the Tale of Gonnal ; 

All fame up to the Fame of Evjcn; 

All praise up to the praise of Loch Key. 
Each of these was regarded as a masterpiece or ne ^ilus ultra in 
its own kind. — See App. V. 

Gach dileas gu deireadh. The lest loved last. 
Lit., the faithful, but the above is the sense in which the phrase 
is generally used. 

Al. Grach roghainn air thoiseach, 's gach dileas gu deheadh. 
The choice to the front, the faithful to the last. 

Gach olc 'an tòin a' choimhich. 

Let the blame of every ill be on the stranger. 

This is clannishness in its worst aspect. 

Gach diù gu deireadh. The worst to the last. 

Gach fear 'n a ghreim. Every man in his place. 
Lit. ' His hold ' ; = ' All hands upon deck ! '. 

Gach fiodh as a bhàrr, ach am feàrn' as a bhun. 
All wood from the top, but alder from the root. 
This is a maxim as to the splitting of wood. 

Gach ian gu 'nead, 's a shràbh 'n a ghob. 
Each bird to its nest, with its straw in its beak. 

Gach ian mar a dh' oileanar. , 

Bird is as his bringing up. 
Gach eun mur oiltear e. — Ir. 

Gabhaidh sinn an rathad mor, 

Olc no math le each e ! 

We will take the high road, 

Let them take it ill or well ! 
This is the chorus of a song set to one of the most popular of 
Highland ' quick-steps'. It was composed on the occasion of a 


body of ]\IacGregors, MacNabs, and Stewarts, commanded by 
Major Patrick MacGregor of Glengyle, marching boldly through 
hostile territory to join Montrose at the battle of Inverlochy. See 
Gciel, Vol. I., p. 288, where the words are given, with a translation 
by the Rev. Mr. Stewart of Nether Lochaber. 

Gad riabhach Samliraidh, gad geal Geamhraidh. 
Summer withe brindled, Winter vjithe white. 
The bark would be left on the twigs cut in Summer. 
Gàdag 's a da cheann sgaoilte. 
A straw-rope ivith both ends loose. 
Applied to a slovenly woman. 

Gàire mu aobliar a' ghuil. 
Lavghing at the cause of iveeping. 

Al. Gal 'us gàire, craos gun nàire — IVeeping, laughing, shame- 
less mouth. 

Gàire Mhàrtainn ris an lite. 
Martin's smile at his jjorridge. 

Gaire na caillich 's a' cliùil dliìonaich. 
The old ivoman's smile in the snug corner. 

Gairm Mhic-Mhannain air na gobhair — ' Ma tliig, 
thig, 's miir tig fan.' 

The Manxman's call to the goats, ' If you are coming, 
come, if not, stay '. 

Galar a 's truime na 'n luaidhe, galar a 's buaine na 'n 

Disease more heamj than lead, more lasting than oak. 

This is a ' dubh-fhacal,' or dark saying. 

Galar fada 's èug 'n a bhun. 

A long disease and death at its root. 

Tinneas fada, a's èug ann a bhun. — Ir. Bod yn hir yn glaf, a 
marw eisys — To he long sick, and die besides. — Welsh. 

Gall glas. A salloio Lowlandcr. 

This epithet was formerly applied to the Gael, as is seen in 
Mr. M'Lean of Kilninian's verses to Lhuyd of the Arciuzologia 
(1707), where 'Sliochd an Ghaoidhil ghlais,' is contrasted with 
the ' Dubhghall,' or black Lowlander. The term ' glas ' is never 
applied to the ' Sassenach' or Englishman. 

Gaol an fhitliich air a' chuàinih. 

The raven's love for the bone. 

Al. Suirdhe air son a bhronna — Pot-wooing. 


Gaol nam fear-diolain, 

J\Iar sliruth-lionaidli na mara ; 
Gaol nam fear-fuadain, 

Mar ghaoith tuath 'tliig o'n charraig ; 
Gaol nam fear-pòsda, 

Mar luing a' seòladh gu cala. 
Paramours love, like the sea's flowing tide', 
Wayfarers' love, like north tuincl from rock ; 
Married men's love, like ship sailing to harbour. 

Gaoth Deas, teas 'us torradh ; 

Gaoth Niar, iaisg 'us bainne ; 

Gaoth Tuath, fuachd 'us gaillionn ; 

Gaoth Near, meas air chrannaibh. 

South ivind, heat and plenty ; 

West loind, fish and milk ; 

North wind, cold and tempest ; 

East wind, fruit oii branches. 
Al. Gaofh a Deas, teas 'us torradh; gaoth a Tuath, fuachrl 'us 
feannadh (skinning) ; gaoth a Niar, iasg 'us bainne ; gaoth a Near, 
mil (honey) air craunaibh, or, tart us craunadh (drought and 

This weather-prophecy is said to have specially referred to the 
direction of the wind on the last night of the year. 

Gaoth o'n rionnaig Earraich ; 
Teas o'n rionnaig Shamhraidh ; 
Uisg' o'n rionnaig Fhoghair ; 
Eeothadh o'n rionnaig Gheamhraidh. 
Wind from the Spring Star ; 
Heat from the Summer Star ; 
Water from the Aiitumn Star; 
Frost from the Winter Star. 

Gaoth gun dlreadh ort ! 

Wind without direction to you ! 

Al. Gun dlreadh ort ! — Want of guidance to you! 

Gaoth niar 'an deigh uisge reamhair. 
West wind after heavy rain. 

Gooth niar gun fhrois, bidh i 'g iarraidh deas. 
wind witlwut shower ivill be seeking south. 


Gaoth roimh 'n aiteamh, 's gaoth troimh tholl, 'us gaoth 
nan long a' dol fo slieòl ; na tri gaothan a b' f huaire 
'dh' fliairich Fionn riamh. 

Wind before thaw, wind through hole, wind of ship 
when hoisting sail; the three coldest Fingal ever felt. 

Al. Gaoth ath-tliionndaidh — An eddy ^vind. Gaoth troimh 
shabhal — Wind through ham. Gaoth nan tonn a' tigh'n fo'n t-seol 
— Wind of VMves coming under sail. 

Ny three geayghyn a' feayrey dennee Fion M'Cooil ; geay 
hennew, as geay huill, as geay fo ny shiauill. — Manx. 

Gaoth fo sheòl agus sròn coin, da rud cho fuar 's a 
th' ann. 

Wind under a sail, and a dogs nose, are two of the 
coldest things. 

Garbh-innse nan ùirsgeulan. 

The big telling of stories. 

Ge b'e air bith 'tha thu 'g ithe no 'g òl, 's leir a bblàth 
air d' aghaidh gu bheil aghaidh do chrobhan ri d' chraos. 

Whatever your meat and drink be, it's very clear on your 
face that your hands and your mouth are good friends. 

This was said by a master to a servant, who protested that she 
ate nothing but bread and milk. 

Ge b'e 'bhios gu math rium, bidh mi gu trie aige. 

Whoever is good to me, I'll be often with him. 

Ge b'e 'bhios 'n a fhear-muinntir aig an t- sionnach, 
feumaidh e 'earball a ghiùlan. 

Whoever is servant to the fox must bear up his tail. 

This may possibly have been suggested by the ciuious spectacle 
of a dignitary going in procession with his train upheld by pages. 

r,p b'p 'h''^itbpfic! qnor, cha dean gaoth torrach. 

Whoever be innocent, wind won't make pregnant. 

Ge b'e 'chaillear no nach caillear, caillear an deadh 

Wliorver is lost or not, the good sioimmer will be 

Ge b' e 'chaomhnas an t-slat, is beag air a mhac. 

He that spareth his rod hateth his son. — Prov. xiii. 24. 

Ge b'e chi no 'chhiinneas tu, ciirn an cat mu'n cuairt. 

Whatever you see or hear, keep the cat turiiing. 

This was said on the last occasion that a horrid species ot 


sorcery, called the Taghairm, was performed by two men in Mull. 
It was said to be one of the most effectual means of raising the 
Devil, and getting imla\vful wishes gratified. The performance 
consisted in roasting cats alive, one after another, for four days, 
without tasting food ; which if duly persisted in, summoned a 
a legion of devils, in the guise of black cats, with their master at 
their head, all screeching in a way terrifying to any person of 
ordinary nerves. On the occasion in question, the chief per- 
former was Allan M'Lean, a man of boundless daring, who 
adopted this means of securing additional power and wealth. 
His companion, Lachlan M'Lean, was equally greedy, and not less 
brave, but as the house began to get filled with yelling demons, 
he cried out to Allan, who made the above answer to him. The 
performance, as the story goes, was successfully accomplished, and 
the result Avas that both men got a great accession of all worldly 
goods. See L. M'Lean's History of the Celtic Language, p. 264. 

Ge b' e do 'n d' thug thu 'mhin, thoir dlia a' chàth. 

Give the bran to him to ivhom you gave the meal. 
Ge b' e fear a's luaitlie làmh, 
'S leis an gadhar ban 's am fiadh. 

He that is of quickest hand will get the white hound 
and the deer. 

Al. Am fear a 's treasa làmh gheabh e, &c. 

An tè is luaithe lamh, biodh aige an gadhar ban's a fiadh. — Ir. 

This occurs in ' Laoidh an Amadain Mhòir'. — See Campbell's 
W. H. T., Vol. III. 163. 

Ge b'e 'gheabliadh a roghainn, 's mairg a tliagliadli 
an diù. 

Pity him vjho has his choice, and chooses the worse. 

Ge b'e 'ghleidheas a long gheabh e latha. 

Re that keeps his ship will get a dag. 

Al. gheabh e fàth — he ivill get a chance. 

Ge b'e mar a bhios an t-sian, cuir do shiol anns a' 

Whatever the wccdlier le, soiv your seed in March. 

See 'An ciad Mhàrt'. 

Ge b'e 'n coireach, 's mis' an creanach. 

Whoever is to Maine, I am the sufferer. 

Ge b'e nach beathaich na coin, cha bhi iad aige latha 
na seilge. 

He that does not feed the dogs wont have them on the 

See 'Am fear nach biath'. 



Ge b'e nach dean a ghuothach cho luatli ri 'slieise, ni 
e uair a 's aimh-dheis' e. 

He that doesn't do his ivork as quiddy as his mate must 
do it at a less convenient time. 

Ge b'e nach fuiling docair, cha 'n fhaigii e socair. 

He gets no case who suffers not. 

This is suljstantially the Platonic doctrine of Pleasure and Pain. 

Ge b'e nach stiùir coire-'bhrochain, cha stiùir Coire- 

He that cant steer the jjorridge-pot won't steer Corry- 

The moral seems to be the same as ' reason in roasting eggs,' 
with a play on the words. In a well-known, comic song, describing 
a sea- voyage of two land-lubbers, this verse occurs — 
' Cia mar a stiuireadh tu jpoit Ì ' 

Ai'sa Calum figheadair ; 
' Ladar a sparradh 'n a corp,' 
Ars' Alasdair tàilleir.' 

Ge b'e 's miosa, ma 's e 's treasa, bidh e 'u uachdar. 
The ivorst, if strongest, will be ujjpermost. 
Al. Theid neart thar ceart. 

Ge b'e 'thig 'an tùs 's e 'gheabh rogha coisiich. 
Whoso comes first gets the best of the baruivxt. 
First come first served. — Eng., Scot. 

Ge beag an t-ubh thig ian as. 

Though the egg be small, a bird will cojne out of it. 

Ge bu leat earras an domhain, na cuir e 'n coiniheart 
ri d' nàire. 

Were theicealth of the world yours, weigh it not against 
your shame. 

Ge cruaidh reachd a' BhaiUidh, cha 'n fhearr reachd 
a' ]\lhinisteir. 

Hard as is the Factors rule, no better is the Minister's. 

See ' Gleidh do mhaor'. 

The Factor and the Minister are naturally the most influential 
persons in rural parishes, and the most popular, or unpopular, as 
the case may be. The above saying is given by Dr. MacLeod in 
one of his delightful Gaelic Dialogues. A somewhat profane say- 
ing, attributed to a satirical person in one of the Western Islands, 

described the three chief powers as 'Fear a^ , Ni Math, agus 

Maighstir '. — The Chamberlain, Providence, and the Eev. . 


Ge cruaidli sgaraclidainii, clia robh clithis gim 

Thougli seiMratioih he hard, two never met hat had to 

Ge dàil do dli-fhear an nilc, cha dearmad. 

Though there he delay, the evil-doer is not forgotten.. 

Al. Ge fada re fear an uilc, cha teid e gun diogliailt bho Dhia 
— Tiwugh the tirtie of the wicked he long, he wonH go un])unished of 

Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpun- 
ished. — Prov. xi. 21. 

'0\|/'è 6eù)v àXiovcn fj.vXoi, dXeovai. 8è XcTrra — The mills of the gods 
grind late, but grind fine. — Gr. 

Ge dlùth do dliuin' a cliòta, is dlùithe dlia a leine. 

Though near he a man's coat, nearer is his sh-irf. 

Ma 's fogus damh mo chùta, is foisge na sin mo leine.' — Ir. 

Near's my sark, but nearer's my skin. — Scot. 

Near is my kirtle, but nearer is my smock. — Eng. 

Het hemd is nader dan de rok. — Dutch. 

Più mi tocca la camicia che la gonnella. — Ital. 

Ge don' an t-ian, 's mios' an t-isean. 
Tliough had the hird, the chicken is worse. 
Al. Ge dona mise, 's miosa Iain òg — Bad though I he, young 
John is worse. 

Ge diibh a cheann, 's geal a chridhe. 
Though hlack his head, his heart is fair. 
Ge dubh am fitheach, is geal leis 'isean. 
Black as is the raven, he thinks his chicken fair. 
Every craw thinks his ain bird whitest. — Scot. 

Ge dubh an dearcag, 's milis i ; ge dubh mo chaileag, 
's bòidheach i. 

Black is the lerry hut sweet; hlack is my lassie hut 

Al. Ge geal an sneachd, is fuar e — Though white the snow, 'tis 

Ge dubh an saor, is geal a shliseag. 
Though hlack the carpenter, ivhite cere his chips. 
Al. Ge h-olc an saor, is math a shliseag. 
'Ma. 's olc a saor, is maith a sgealbog. — Ir. 

Ge fad' an duan, ruigear a cheann. 
The longest chant has an end. 


Ge fagus clach do 'n làr, is faisge na sin cobhair 

Though near the stone he to the ground, doser is the hel]) 
of Coivi. 

This saying is a very old one. See ' Clio teoma ri Coiblii'. 
Ge fagus dhuiiin, 's faisge òirnn. 
Though to us he near, iipm us is nearer. 
Ge fuar an tràigh, is blàth an coire. 
Though cold he the shore, the corrie is warm. 
Ge glas am fiar fàsaidh e. 
Though gray the grass it will groiv. 
Ge h-olc am bothan boclid, 's e tha olc a bhi gun olc 
gun mhath. 

Bad (IS is the poor hothie, worst is without had or good. 
An Ulster rhyme on this subject given by Mr. MacAdam in 
Ulst. Journ. of Arch, is very characteristic : — 

Curadh mo chroidhe ort, a bhothain 1 

'S tù nach m-biann a choidh acht a g-cothan ; 

Acht càil bheag bhuideach de do shochair, 

Moch no mall a thiginn, 

Gur b' ionnad is fusa damh mo chosa shineudh ! 

Plague of my heart on thee, hothie ! 

'Tis thou that art alvjays in confusion; 

But one nice little virtue there's in thee, 

Late or early that I come, 

It's in thee I can easiest stretch my legs ! 

Ge h-olc giir a' ghille, 's miosa gill' an ath-ghille. 

Though had he the servant's servant, worse is the suhsti- 
tute's servant. 

Ge h-olc " sud " cha 'n e " siad " a's fhearr. 

This appears to be a protest against certain modes of speech 
common in some parts of the Highlands, but regarded in other 
parts as affected. Sud, ' That,' is pronounced Sid in Inverness- 
shire. Siad, instead of lad, 'They,' is never used in that county. 

Ge math a' chobhair an t-sealg, cha mhath an saoghal 
an t-sealg. 

Hunting is a good help, hut a had living. 

Ge math an ceòl feadaireachd, foghnaidh dhuinn 
beagan deth. 

JVhistling may he good music, hut a little of it will do 
for us. 

Al. Fidileireachd— i^ù/J^ùì^r. See ' Ma 's ceùl'. 


Ge matli an gille cam, cha fliritlieil e- thall 's a bhos. 

Good though the one-eyed servant he, he cannot attend 
here and there. 

Al. 'Ge beadaidli,' ' Ge èasgaidh' — 'cha fhreagair e.' ' Ge 
math an cù cam.' 

Ge milis a' mliil, co a dh' imliclieadh bhàrr na dris' i ? 
Sweet as is the honey, ivho ivoidd lick it off the brier Ì 
Ma 's mills a mhil, na ligh-sa de 'n dreàsoig i. — Ir. 
Dear bought is the honey that's licked from the thorn. — Eng. 
Trop achete le miel qui le lèche sur les epines. — Fr^ 
Theurer Honig den man auf Dornen muss lecken. — Germ. 
Hij koopt den honig wel duur, die ze van de doornen moet 
lekken. — Dutch. 

Ge milis am fion, tha e searbh ri 'dhioL 
Tliough sweet the tvine, 'tis hitter to pay. 
Al. Ge milis ri 'òl, is goirt ri 'phàigheadh e. 
Is milis fion, is searbh a ioc. — It. 
Millish dy ghoaill, ach sharroo dy eeck. — Manx. 

Ge mor àrdan na h-easaicb, cha tig i seacb an liiatb. 
Great as is the gruel's rage, it won't go beyond tie 

Al. Ge mor aintheas na poite bige, cha tig e, &c. 

Ge teann dòrn, 's faisge uileann. 

Though fist he near, elbow is iiearer, 

Sniessey yn uillin na yn doarn. — Manx. 

Kesoc'h eo ilin e^"it dorn. — Breton. 

Nes penelin nag arddwrn. — JFelsh. 

Taw KVT]nr]s eyyiop—Knee is nearer than leg. — Gr, 

Ge ùrag, cba 'n ùrag mii 'n bhiadh. 

Though bland she be, she is not so about food. 

The word ùrag = a nice, bland, young woman, is not in any of 
the Dictionaries, but is used in various districts. The above 
saying is from Lewis. 

Gealacb bhuidbe na Feill-Mhicbeil. 

21ie yelloio moon of Michaelmas. 

The Harvest moon. 

Al. Gealach an abuchaidh — The ripening moon. 

Gealladb bog socharach 'ni duine air sgàth nàire ; 
gealladh gun a choimhghealladh 's miosa sid na diùltadb. 

The soft yielding promise, made for shame's sake ; pro- 
mise unfulfilled, vjorse than refusal. 


Gealladh math 'us droch pliàigheadh. 

Good 2iTomise and had payment. 

Geallaidb am fear feumach an ni breugacli iiach faigli ; 
saoilidh am fear sanntach, gacli ni a gheall gn'm faigh. 

The needy man will promise wliat he cannot give ; the 
greedy man will hope to get everything that's promised. 

Geallar faoigli do cheann-cinnidli, 's leigear dim fhein 
tighinn g' a sliireadh, 

A gift will he promised to the chief, and it will he left 
to him to come for it. 

Al. Geallar laoigh do Mliac-Griogair, 's biodh eadar e fhein 's 
a togail. 

A gift will he promised to MacGregor, and the lifting will he left 
to him. 

The old practice of taking presents of corn, cattle, &c., was not 
confined to the poor. Chiefs expected them on certain occasions 
as well as humbler peoj^le : they were, in fact, not so much gifts as 
taxes. See 'Oha bhi rogha'. 

Geamhradli rendhtanacli, Earrach ceòthanach, Sarah- 
radh breac-riabhach, 'us Foghar geal grianacb, cba d'fhàg 
gorta riamli 'an Alba. 

Frosty Winter, misty Spring, checquercd Summer, and 
sunny Autumn, never left dearth in Scotland. 
Arragh chayeeagh, Sourey onyragli (cloudy), 
Fouyr ghrianagh, as Geurey rioeeagh. — Manx. 

Gean a' bhodaich, as a bbroinn. 

The churl's suavity, from off the stomach. 

Ged a bbiodh bean an tigbe lachdunn, — na'm biodh i 
maiseach mu'n bhiadh ! 

Were the housewife ever so plain — if she were only fair 
with the food ! 

Ged a bhiodh do phoca Ian, bu mhiann leat mam 
'chur air a mhuin. 

Were your hag full, you woidd wish to heap it over. 

Ged a chual' iad an ceòl, cha do thuig iad am port. 

They heard the music, hut tmderstood not the tune. 

Ged 'bheir thu 'n t-anam as, cha toir thu an aghaidh 
dhuineil as. 

Yoii may take the life from him, hut not the manly look 
from him. 


Ged 'bhiodh na tri gill 's an aon mhaide. 
If I had engagements three, I would fiy to succour thee. 
Lit. 'Were there three wagers on one stick,' in allusion to 
the old style of keeping a score, bj^ those who couldn't write. 

Ged 'blirist thu 'n cnàimh, clia d' dheoghail thii 'n 

Tliough ymi hrohe the hone, you didnt suck the marrovj. 

Ged 'chaochail e 'innis, cha do cbaochail e 'àbhaist. 

He changed his haunt, lut not his habit. 

Coelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt. — Hor. 

Ged 'chitheadb tu do mbàtbair a' dol cearr, db' inns- 

eadb tu e. 

If you saw your mother going wrong, you tcouid tell it. 
He was scant of news who told that his father was hanged. — 

Eng., Scot. 

Ged 'cbluinn tbu sgeul gun dreach na h-aitbris e. 
If you hear a hueless tale, clont repeat it. 

Ged 'cbuirinn fait mo cbinn fo 'cbasan. 

Though I shoidd lay the hair of my head under his 

Ged 'db' eignicbear an sean-f bacal, cba bbreugaicbear e. 

Though the old saying be strained, it cannot he heliecl. 

Al. Ged 'shàruichear. See 'An sean-fhacal'. 

Plant gwirionedd jyf hen diarhebion — Old proverbs are children 
of truth. — Welsh. 

Ged 'db' imicbeadh tu 'n cruinne, cba 'n fbaigb tbu 
duine gun cboire. 

You may go round the world, hut you'll not meet a man 
ivithout fault. 

Ged is ann o 'n bbior, cba 'n ann o 'n cboire. 
JEscaped from the spit, hut not from tJie caldron. 

Ged is e 'n duine an tuatbanacb, 's e 'n t-eacb an 

The man is the farmer, hit the horse is the lahourer. 

Ged is e 'n tigb, cba 'n e 'mbuinntir. 
Though it he the house, these are not its people. 
Said when an old house is tenanted by new people, a common 
thing in the Highlands. 


Ged is f had a macli Barraidh, ruigear e. 

Though Barra he far out, it can he reached. 

Said by Mac Iain Ghearr, one of the Mac lans of ArcTnamur- 
chan, to M'Neill of Barra, who had been very hard on him at a 
Court of Justice. 

Ged is feairrd a' chailleach a garadh, clia 'n f heairrd 
i a losgadh. 

The old woman is the hettcr of heing warmed, hut not 
of heing hurned. 

Is feàrrde do 'n chailleach a goradh, acht is misde i a losgadh. 

This has been supposed to refer to the atrocious practice of 
burning women for witchcraft, which was the statutory punish- 
ment in this country from 1563 to 1736. 

Ged is iosal an coileach, cromaidh e 'cheann. 
Though the cock he humhle, he hends his head. 

Ged 'leagas tu mise, cha 'n 'eil duin' 'an Nis nacli leag 
tliu fhtìn. 

Tliough you knock me doivn, there's not a man in Ness 
hut can knock you doum. 

Said by one of two pigmies, belonging to the parish of Ness in 
Lewis, to the other. 

Ged nach beirteadh bo 'an Eirinn. 
Should never a cow he calved in Ireland. 

Ged nach bi mi bruidhneach, bidli mi coimlieach, 

Though 1 wont he talking, I'll he shy and mindful. 
See 'Bi 'd' thosd'. 

Ged nach biodh ach da leth-pheighinn 's an sporan, 
taobhaidh iad ri 'cheile. 

Were there hut two half -pence in the purse, they'll come 

Al. da thurn-odhar — two mites. 'Turn-odhar' is uncommon, 
but is found in MacAlpine's Dictionary. 

Pfennig ist Pfennigs Bruder. — Germ. 

Ged nach biodh agad ach an t-ubh, 's e 'm plaosg a 

If you had hut an egg, I should get hut the shell. 


Ged nach biodh ann ach an rigli 's 'fhear-muinntir, 
dh' f haodadh duiii' a chuid ionndrain. 

Wei-e nobody by but a king and his man, one might 
miss his oivn. 

Ged nacli duin' an t-aodach, cha duin' a bliios as 'aogais. 

TJie clothes are not the man, but he's no man unthout 

i\Ian tager meere Hatten af for Klederne end for Personen— 
More hats are taken off for clothes than for persons.— Daii. 

De kleederen maken den man. — Dutch. 

For the apparel oft proclaims the man. — Hamlet 1. iii. 
Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow, 
The rest is nought but leather and prunella. — Pope. 

A man's a man for a' that.— i3(irns. 

Society is founded ixpon Cloth. — Sartor Resartus. 

Lives the man that can figure a naked Duke of Windlestraw, 
addressing a naked House of Lords Ì — Id. 

Ged nach 'eil e sios 's a suas, tha e null 's a nail. 

Though it be not u'p and down, it is back and foricard. 

Ged nach 'eil geir ann, tha fuil ann. 

Though there be no fat, there is blood in him. 

Ged a rachadh Cromba leis a' mhuir, 

Tliough Cromarty should go ivith the tide. 

Ged'robh e gun mhòine, cha bin e gun teine. 

Tliough ivithout peats, he won't want fire. 

Ged 'tha mi bochd, cha 'n 'eil mi bleideil. 

Though poor, I'm not a parasite. 

Ged 'tha mi 'n diugh 'am chù-baile, bha mi roimli' 'am 

Though to-day a farm-dog, I uns once a moor-dog. 

Ged 'tha mise òg, tha seana chluasan agam. 

Though I be young, I have old ears. 

Little pitchers have wide ears. — Eng. 

Ged 'theirteadh riut an cù, cha bu tu ach smior a' 

Though you were called a dog, you are but the very 
m-arrow of a hound. 

Ged 'threabhadh tu dùthaich, chaitheadh tu dùthaich. 

If you tilled a country side, you toould spend its produce. 

Al. dh' itheadh tu i — you would eat it. 


Ged 'thug tliu beum dha, clia d' thug thu mir dlia. 

You gave him a taunt, hut never a niorsci. 

Geòlach ort ! The death-handage on thee ! 

Gemn dheth fhein a sgoilteas an darach. 

A vjedge of itself splits the oak. 

Geum bà air a h-èolas. A cold's low on hnoivn ground. 

Geurad an leanna-chaoil. Tlie sourness of small beer. 

Ghabhadh Mac-a-Phi 'n a rabhadh e. 

Mac Phie ivoidd take it for tvarning. 

A Mull saying. Mac Phie, chief of Colonsay, went to a feast 
at Duart Castle," Mull, where his hospitable friend ilacLean in- 
tended to kill him. The door-keeper, being of friendly mind, 
asked him if he had come down Glen Connal ? He said he had. 
' 'S am faca tu m' eich-sa, 's d' eich fliein ? — Did you see my horses 
and your own there ' ? Mac Phie took the hint, and escaped with 
all speed. 

Ghabhamaid na cruachan mora, 's dh' f hoghnadh na 
cruachan beaga. 

We ivould take the big stacks, and the little ones %vould do. 

Contented wi' little, and canty wi' mair. — Burns. 

Gheabh aire eirbheirt. Need will find means of moving. 

Need makes the naked man run. — Eng., Scot. 

Need gars the auld wife trot. — Scot. 

Besoin fait vieQle trotter. — Fr. 

La necesidad hace a la ^-ieja trotar. — Span. 

De nood doet een oud wijf draven. — Dutch. 

Gheabh baobh a guidhe, ged nach fhaigh a h-anam 

A wicked woman unll get her wish, though her soul get 
no mercy. 

Gheabh bean bhaoth dlùth gun cheannach, 's cha 'n 
fhaigh i inneach. 

A silly ivoman ivill get the %i:arp without paying, hut 
won't get the ivoof 

Gheabh bronnair mar a bhronnas e, 's gheabh Ionian 
an lom dhonas. 

TJie liberal will get as he spends, hut the niggard ivill 
get mere wretchedness. 

The word ' bronn ' or ' pronn ' = give, distribute, is now obso- 
lete in vernacular Gaelic, but occurs in Ossianic ballads. 


Glieabli burraidli barraclid coire na 's urrainn duine 
glic a leasacliadli. 

A hlocJchead can find more fault tlian a ivise man can 

Un matto sa più domaiidare, clie sette pavi respondere. — Ital. 

Ein Narr kann luelir fragen, als sieben Weise antworteii.— 

A fool may ask more questions in an hour than a wise man can 
answer in seven years. — Eng. * 

Gheabli cearc an sgriobain rud-eigin, 's cha 'n f liaigh 
cearc a' chrùbain dad idir. 

Tlie scrajnng hen will get something, hut the crouching 
hen will get nothing. 

Gheabli cobhartach spionuadli-iasaid. 
Helper tvill get loan of strength. 
A very fine sentiment. 

Gheabli Gàidheal fhèin a leth-bhreac. 
Even a Gael ivill find his fellow. 

The Gael, with all his self-esteem, has sense enough to know 
that there are as good in the world as he 

Gheabh foighidinn furtachd, 's gheabh trusdar bean. 

Patience will get help, and filthy fellows get wives. 
Patience and perseverance 
Got a wife for his Reverence. — Ir. 

Gheabh righ feachd, 's gheabh domhan daoine. 
Kings ivill find armies, and the world men. 

Gheabh sith sith, ach gheabh caise cothachadh. 
Peace will get peace, hut heat will get contention. 

Gheabh thu air òran e. 
You'll get it for a song. 

Gheabh thu e far am fag thu e. 
You'll find him vjhere yon leave him. 
Said of a man to be relied on. 

Gheabh thu e 'n uair a gheabh thu nead na cubhaig. 
Yotcll get it when you find the cuchoo's nest. 

Gheabhadh tu na feannagan-firich. 

You woiddfind the forest-croius. 

Said to persons who boast of doing impracticable things. 


Glieabhar bean-chagair, ach 's ainneamh bean-gliaoìL 
A dear-wife may he got, hut a love-wife is rare. 
This is a nice distinction. 'Mo ghaol' is a warmer expression 
than 'mochagar'. 

Gheabhar deireadh gach sgeòil a nasgaidh. 

The end of a tale is got for nothing. 

Gheabhar laogh breac ballach 'an tigh gach àraich, Là 
Fheill-Pàdraig Earraich. 

A spotted calf toill he found in every cowherd's house on 
St. Patrick's day in Spring. 

Gheabht' iomramh 's an ramh gun a bhristeadh. 

Rowing coidd he got from the oar without hreaking it, 

Ghlacadh e 'n a lion f hein. 

He was caught in his own net. 

Ghoid am mèirleach air braidein e. 

The thief stole it from the pilferer. 

Gille cas-fliuch. Wet-foot lad. 

Al. Gille uisge 's aimhne — Water and river lad. 

A servant that carried his master across streams, fetched water, 
and made himself generally usefuL 

Gille-firein 's e ri fas, ithidh e mar bhleathas bràdh. 

A growing hoy tvill eat as fast as a quern can grind. 

Al. Seana-ghiuUan 's e ri fas, dh' itheadh e mar mheileadh 

Gille gun bhiadh gun tuarasdal, cha bhi e uair gun 

A servant without food or wages won't he long without 
a master. 

A boy-servant of all work without food or wages. — Arab. 

Glac am mèirleach mu'n glac am mèirleacli tliu. 

CJatch the thief hefore the tJiief catch you. 

Take tlie thief before he take thee. — Ara,b. 

Glac thusa foighidinn, 's glacaidh tu iasg. 

Get you patience, and you'll get fish. 

Glanadh mosaig air a màthair-chèile. 

The slatterns cleaning of her mother-in-law. 

Glas air an tigh an deigh na gadachd. 

Locking the house after the theft. 

Locking the stable door when the steed is stolen. — Eng. 


Glas-labhraidli air nigliinn, gun fliios, teang' an abhra 
'dli 'iomraicheas. 

When a viaid is tongue-tied, her ei/elids tell a tale. 
A thief sae pawkie is my Jean, 
To steal a blink, by a' nnseen ; 
But gleg as light are lover's een. 
When kind love is in the ee. — Burns. 

Gleac nam fear fanna. The ivrestling of faint men. 

Gleidh do mhaor 's do mhimstear, 's cha'n eagal dut. 

Keep your hailijf and your minister, and there s no fear 
of you. 

Gleidheadh a' chlamhain air na cearcan. 

The hites guarding of the hens. 

See 'B'e sin faire'. 

Gleidheadh an t-sionnaich air na caoraich. 

Tlie fox's keeping of the sheep. 

Gleidhear cuirm an deigh Càisge. 

A feast will he kept after Easter. 

Gleidhidh aire innleachd, ged nacli gleidh i oiglireaclid. 

Need vjill make a shift, though it keep not an inheritance. 

Gleidhidh cnàimh feòil, f had 's is beò smior. 

Bone IV ill keep flesh, ivhile marrow lives. 

Al. Gheabh feoil cnàimh, 's gheabh cnàimh feòil — Flesh will 
get bone, and bone flesh. 

Gleidhidh sùil seilbh. Eye keejjs property. 

The eye of the master does more than both his hands.— Ejigi. 

Gleus ùr air seana mliaide. A new lock to an old stock. 
Glòir fhuar bharr iiachdar goile. 
Cold tcdk from stomach surface. 

Glòir mhor 'an colainn bhig. Great tcdk in small hcdy. 
Al. Glaodh mor a colainn bhig. 
Glòir nan càirdean a 's milse na 'nihil. 
The praise of friends is sweeter than honey. 
Glòir mliilis a mbeallas an t-amadan. 
Bv:eet loords 'beguile fools. 
Fair words make fools fain. — Eag. 

Fair hechts (p-omisesj will mak' fulis fairu — The Clierrie and 
the Slae. 

Fagre Ord fryde en Daare. — Dan. 


Gnè firionn falbh. The males nature is to move. 

The man to go abroad, the woman to stay at home. 

Guothach duine gun cheill, 'dol gu feill gun airgiod. 

A fool's errand, going to market without monq/. 

Gnothaicliean mora fo thuinn. 

Gi^eat things under the ivaves. 

Said of those who boast of things they neither have nor can havfe 

Gob a' dialmain-chàthaidh, bidli tu slàn mu'm pòs thii. 

Beak of the moulting dove, you'll he ivell before you marry. 

The word ' cahnan-càthaidh' is not in any of the dictionaries, 
except A. M'Donakl's Vocabnlary, where it is rendered 'Hoop'. 
The saying is applied to sick children. 

Goirteas a chinn f hein a dh' f hairicheas a' h-uile fear. 

Every onan feels his own headache. 

'S 1 a chneacih fèin is Inaithe mhothiugheas gach duine — A 
ftmn feels his ovm hurt soonest. — Ir. 

Gramachadli bàrr òrdaig. Holding hy a thumh-top. 

Greadan feasgair, 's cead dol dachaidh. 

Evening spurt, and leave to go home. 

Greim cruaidh aig curaidh. A champion's hard grip. 

Greim cùbair. A cooper s grip. 

A firm hold. 

Greim fad' an tàilleir leisg. The lazy tailor's long stitch. 

Al. Greim fa<la, 's grad 'l)hi ulhimh — Long stitch, and soon done. 

Snaitlie fada an taillear fhallsa. — Ir. 

Costurera mala, la hebra de a braza — Bad seamstress' thread, a 
fathom long. — Span. 

Greis mu seach, an t-each air miiin a' mharcaiche. 

Time ahoiit, the horse on the hack of the rider. 

Gu dòmliail doimh, mar a bliios màthair fhir-an- 
tighe, 'an solus na cloinne, no 'n rathad nan ian. 

Croioding, cumbersome, like the goodman's mother, in 
the children's light, or in the way of the fowls. 

Gu dona dubh, mar a bha cas Aoidh. 

Bad and black, as Hugh's foot u-as. 

Hugh was on a visit to the laird of Coll, and ^"ot his foot acci- 
dentally wounded. He was so well taken care of that he was in 
no hiirry to get out of hospital, and continued to describe the 
state of his foot as 'bad and black'. 

Gu h-olc innte, 's gu h-olc uimpe. 
Bad within, and badly clad. 


Gu'ni bioclli e 'n ceann-uidhe dha fhathast. 

That he would yet he the end of him. 

This was one of the sayings attributed to James Stewart of 
Acharn, ' Seumas a' Ghlinne,' on the strength of which, chiefly, 
he was most iniquitonsly executed in 1752 for the murder of 
Colin Campbell of Glenure. Stewart's brother had forfeited his 
lands of Ardsheil for taking part in the Rebellion of 1745, and 
Campbell, judicial factor on the estate, was proceeding to eject a 
number of tenants, when he was shot dead. Stewart was not 
accused of having committed the deed, but of having instigated 
Allan Ureac, a kinsman of his. The presiding judge was the Duke 
of Argyll, Lord Justice-General, and eleven of the jury were 

Gn'm bu droch drùighleach dlmt ! Bad dregs to you ! 

Gu ma fada bhios tu beò, agus ceo bharr do tliighe ! 

Long may you live, and smoke rise from your roof ! 

Al. Gu ma fada beù thu, 'us ceo as do thigh. 

This is a very favourite and kindly saying. 

Gu 'm aim a glionar am fiosaiclie, mu'n tig an fhiosachd 
f lor ! 

Perish the -prophet, ere the prophecy come true ! 
Gu 'm beir an riabhach mor ort ! 
The great grizzled one catch thee ! 
One of the epithets applied to the Devil. 

Gu ma h-anmoch dhut ! May it he late to thee ! 

Gu ma h-olc dhut ! Ill hefall thee ! 

Gu'm meal thu do naidheachd ! 

May you enjoy your neivs ! 

Said to a person who is to be congi-atulated. 

Gual fuar 'g a sheideadh. Blowing cold coals. 
' Gùg, gùg,' ars a' chubhag, latha buidhe Bealltainn, 
' Coo, coo,' says the cuckoo, on yellow May-day. 
The cuckoo is seldom heard so early now. 

Gun aon tàmh air bial na bradhan, 's gun aon ghràinn' 
air chionn an latha. 

Without ceasing of the quern, and not a grain at the 
end of the day. 

Labour like that of the Danaids, — the ' toradh ' or fruit of the 
grinding being carried away by a Fairy as fast as it was made. 

Gu 'n gabh a' bhochdainn tliu ! Poverty take thee ! 


Gun mheas gun mhiadh, mar Mliànus. 

Without esteem or honour, like Magnus. 

This refers to a Scandinavian king, whom Fingal overcame and 
slew. — See Dr. Smith's Sean Dana, p. 113, and Campbell's 
Leabhar na Feinne, pp. 71, &c. 

Gunnaiche mor gun srad f hùdair. 
A great gunner witliout a grain of poioder. 
Gus am bi Mac-Cailein na Vigh, bidli I mar 'blià. 
Till Argyll he a King, lona ivill he as she toas. 
This saying was familiar in Kingairloch more than 60 years 
ago to the person from whom it was got. The repair of the ruins 
of lona by the Duke of Argyll, soon after the marriage of the 
Marquis of Lome to the Princess Louise, was noted by some okl 
people in connection with this saying. 

An older saying, attributed to St. Columba, is — 
An I mo chridhe, I mo ghràidli, 

An àite guth mhanach bidh geum bà; 
Ach mu 'n tig an saoghal gu crich, 

Bithidh I mar a bha. 
In dearest lona, the isle of my love, 

In place of monks' voices shall cows' lowing he ; 
But ere ever the world shall come to an end, 
As once loas lona, lona shall be. 

Gus am faigh tlm deocli a's fhearr na 'm f ion, cha 'n 
f haigh thu biadh a's fhearr na 'n fheòil. 

Till you find hetter drink than tcine, you'll find no 
hetter food than flesh. 

The Binny fish said, ' If you can find a better fish, don't eat 
me'. — Arah. 

Gus an gabh a' mhuir teine, cha 'n fhaigh duine clann 
duine eile. 

Till the sea takes fire, you cant he the sire of another 
mans children. 

Gus an tràighir a' mhuir le cliabh, cha bhi fear fial 

Till the sea is drained with a creel, the generous man 
ivon't want. 

A good sentiment, but unfortunately not a fact. 

Guth na cubhaig 'am bial na cathaig, 's guth na faoileig 
'am bial na sgaireig. 

The cuckoos voice in the jackdaw's mouth, and the sea- 
gull's in the young scart's. 

I nam ban boidlieacli. lona of prdty icomen. 

lallan fad' a leathair cliàich. 

Long thongs of other men's leather. 

De alieno corio liberalis. — Lat. 

Del cuoio d' altri si fanno le correggie larglie.^ — Ital. 

De cuero ageno correas largas. — jS^xt/i. 

Du cuir d' autrui large coiirroie. — Fr. 

Het is goed suijden riemen nit eens andermans leer. — Dutch. 

A large thong of another man's hide. — Eng. 

Lang\vhangs aif ither folk's leather. — Scot. 

larr gacli ni air Camaronach, acli na iarr im air. 

Ask anything of a Cameron hut hutter. 

See ' Camaronaich '. 

larraidh ]\Ihic Clirùislig air na li-eich. 

Mac Cruslick's search for the horses. 

M.'s master sent him to search for his horses. ' Where shall I 
look for them ? ' said M. ' Look for them wherever they are or are 
not likely to be,' said his master. Presently M. was seen on the 
roof of the house scraping away with a sickle. On being asked 
what he was about, he replied that he was searching for the 
horses where they were not likely to be. — Campbell's W. H. 
Tales, II. 309. 

lasad a' cliaibe gun a chnr 's an talamh. 

Tlie loan of the qjade tvithout using it. 

lasad caillicli gun diasan, iasad a 's fhas' fbaotainn. 

An old wifes loan without ears of corn, the easiest loan 
to get. 

I.e., loan from one who has nothing to give. 

lasgach muinntir Bharbhais. 

The Barvas folk's fishing. 

Barvas is a parish in Lewis. It was alleged of the natives 
that they delayed going to till they heard of their neighbours' 
having got fish. The coast of Barvas strictly so called is peculiarly 
unsuited for boating, which might well excuse the natives for 
being slow to go to sea. Ness, on the other hand, which is part 
of the ' civil ' parish of B. has a i^ort, and is inhabited by a very 
dauntless fishing population. 



lasg no sithionn, àtli no muileann. 

Fish or venison, kiln or mill. 

lasgach amadain, corr bheothach mor. 

A fool's fishing, an occasional big fish. 

The meamng is, that only fools despise littles. 

lasgach na curra. The cranes fishing. 

A model of patience. 

Im ri im clia bbiadh 's clia 'n annlann e. 

Butter to hutter is neither food nor kitchen, 
Imricli Shathurna mu thuath, 

Imricli Luain mu dheas ; 
Ged nacli biodh agam ach an t-uan, 
'S ann Diluain a dh'fhalbbainn leis. 

Saturday s fiitting hy north, Monday s fiitting hy south; 
had I hut a lamb to move, 'tis on Monday I tvould go. 

In other words, Saturday is an unlucky day for removing, 
Monday a lucky day. See ' Deiseal'. 

Imridh briag gobhal. A lie needs a prop. 

See ' Cha sheas a bhriag'. 

Imridh fear nam briag cuimhne mhath a bhi aige. 

Liars shoidd have good memories. — Eng., Scot. 

Be of good memory, if you become a liar. — Arab. 

Mendacem memorem esse oportet. — Quintil. 

II bugiardo deve aver buona memoria. — Itcd. 

Liigner muss ein gut Gedachtniss haben. — Germ. 

Een leugenaar moet een goede memorie hebben. — Dutch. 

Innleachd Shasunn agus neart Alba. 

England's art and Scotland' s force. 

The truth of this saying stiU holds good. 

Innsidh a' chruinneag, c6 'dh'ith a' chriomag. 

The tidy lass vnll tell who ate the tid-bit. 

Innsidh na geòidh a 's t-Fhoghar e. 

The geese ivtll tell it in Autumn, 

Innsidh nine 'h-uile rud. TÌ7ne tells everything. 

Foillsightear gach nidh re h-aimsir. — Ir. 

Tempus omnia revelat. Veritas temporis filia. — Lat. 

Time trieth truth. — Eng. Zeit gebiert Wahrheit. — Germ. 

lomairt ' coma leam'. The ' / don't care' play. 

longantas muinntir Mhuc-Càirn. 

The quecrness of the Muckairn peojjle. 

in. is a parish in Argyllshire, the inhabitants of which somehow 


have the reputation of being nncommonly shy, unwilling to par- 
take even of the simplest hospitality from strangers, 

lonnlaididh burn salach lamliaru 
Foul water will wash hands. 

lonnsaich do d' sheanmhair broclian a dlieanamli. 

Teach your granny to make gruel. 

Al. ' lit' Ò1 ' — to sup porridge. 

Seòl do shean-mhathair lachanaidh a bhleaghan (to milk 
ducks). — Ir. 

Teach your grandam to suck eggs — to spin — to grope her duck 
— to sup sour milk. — Eng. 

Learn yir gudewife to mak milk kail. — Scot. 

Dysgu gradd i hen farch — To teach apace to an old horse. — Welsh. 

' Gradd ' is possibly a ' family ' edition of what in a similar 
Gaelic sajòng is ' bram '. 

Is adliaiseach cuid an fliir nach toir an dorus air. 

His share is slow vjho doesn't take to the door. 

The best interpretation of this is, that he who doesn't go out 
for his living will be Ul off. 

N.B. — In most of the sayings commencing here with 'Is,' 
the 'I' is in pronunciation entirely omitted. '/S ami, 'S e, and 'S 
fJiearr, are the vernacular phrases, and not 'Is ann,' Is e,' &c. 

Is aimhleasacli gach noclid. 
Nakedness is hurtfid. 

This is a very Celtic sentiment. The chief idea conveyed is, 
that the destitute are liable to injury. 

Is àirde 'n geum na 'm bleoghann. 

The low is greater than the milking. 


Is àirde ceann na gualainn. 

Head is higher tlmn shoulder. 

Uwch pen na dwy ysgwydd. — Welsh. 

Is àirde tnathanach air a chasan na duin'-uasal air a 

A farma' on his feet is taller than a gentleman on his 

Al. Is fhearr — is better. 

This is a very suggestive saying. — See ' Is treasa tuath '. 

Is aithne do'n chù a clioire fhein. 
A dog knoius his ovm fault. 
Al. Tidgidh CÙ a chionta. 


Is amaideach a blii 'cur a mach airgid a cheanuacli 

'Tis folly to spend money in huying repentance. 

Is alifhann a thig, 's làidir a theid. 
Weak they come, and strong depart. 
Al. Is lag na thig. This refers to infants. 

Is aim a bhios a' choir mar a chumar i. 

The right will he as it's kept. 

Al. Bidh a choir mar a chnmar i, 's bidh an t-suirldhe mar a 
nltear i — I'he right, dec, and the wooing ivill he cwcordiiig as it's 

Possession is nine points of the law. — Eng. 

See ' Am fear aig am beil '. 

Is ann a clieart-eigin 's a dli-aindeoin, a dli'aitlmiclieas 
bean a ciad leanabli; mar a tliiiirt Iain Mac-]\Ihurchaidh- 

It's barely and in spite of everything, that a woman 
knows her first child, as John, son of Murdoch, son of 
Allan, said. 

Is ann a dh fhàsas an siol mar a cliuirear e. 

The seed grows as it's sown. 

Is ann a tha 'n càirdeas mar a chumar e. 

Friendship is as it's kept. 

A very true and good sentiment. 

Is ann a tha 'n sgoileam air an sgoileir. 

It's the scholar that's the talker. 

Is ann agad 'tha 'bhathais ! What a front you have ! 

Said to impudent people. 

Is ann aig duine fhein is fhearr a tha fios c'àite am 
beil a bhròg 'g a ghoirteachadh. 

Every man knows lest where his shoe hurts him. 

The wearer best knows where the shoe wrings him. — Eng. 

Every man kens best where his ain shoe binds him. — Scot. 

Chacun sent le mieux on le Soulier le blesse. — Fi\ 

Ognuno sa dove la Scarpa lo stringe.— /iaZ. 

Cada uno sabe donde le aprieta el zapato. — Span. 

Jeder weiss es am Besten, wo ihn der Schuh driickt. — Germ. 

The first use of this saying is attributed by Plutarch to 
iEmilius Paulus, who being remonstrated with for divorcing his 
wife, an honourable and irreproachable matron, pointed to one of 
his shoes, and asked his friends ' what they thought of it ? ' They 


all thouglit it a handsome, well-fitting shoe. * But none of yon 
knows,' he said, 'where it pinches me.' This is now called 
' incompatibility '. 

Is ann aige-san a's mo 'their a's luglia 'tlia ri 'ràdh. 

He that says most has least to tell. 

Words are like leaves, and where they most abound, 
Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found. 

Is ann air a' bheagan a dh'aitlmichear am morau. 

From the little the much is knoion. 

Is ann air a dh' eirich a' ghrian ! 

It is on him that the sun hath risen ! 

Is ann air a*^ mhiiic reamhair a theid an t-im. 

It's on the fat pig the hutter goes. 

This applies metaphorically to some living animals. 

See ' Am fear aig am bi im '. 

Sin ton na muice meithe do ghrèisiughadh. — Ir. 

Al puerco gordo untarle el rabo. — Span. 

Is ann air an tràghadh a rugadh e. 
He was horn ivhen the tide was ehhing. 
Unlucky man, or born out of date. 

Is ann air a shon fhein a ni 'n cat an crònan. 
It's for itself the eat croons. 
Is mur gheall air fein a ghnidheas a cat cronan. — Ir. 
E wjT y gath pa farf a lyf — Cat knows what beard he licks. — TVel^. 
The cat is a thoroughly selfish animal, and there are liuman 
beings, aimed at in this proverb, of the same nice, soft, selfish sort. 

Is ann air gniiis a bheirear breith. 

It is ly the face toe judge. 

Vultus est index animi. — Lai. 

In the forehead and the eye, 

The lecture of the mind doth lie. — Eng. 

Is ann air deireadli an latlia 's fhearr na DònuUaich. 

The MaxDonalds are hest at the end of the day. 

This is a very complimentary saying. See ' Is ann feasgar '. 

Is ann an am a chruadail a dh' aithnichear na càirdean. 
When fortune froions then friends are known. 

Is ann 'an ceann bliadhna a dh' innseas iasgair a 

It''s at the year's end the fisher can tell his Inch. 

Al. 'amhaltas — Ms trouble. 

Is a g-cionn na bliadhna innsidheas iasgaire a thàbhachd. — Ir. 


Is ann an sin a tliatlias 'g a cliaitlieamh, eadar an 
t-sratliair 's am plàta. 

So is it worn, 'twixt the pack-saddle and the straiv-eloth. 
Said of people assuming airs beyond their position. 

Is ann an uair a's gainn' am biadh a's coir a roinn. 

'Tis when food is scarcest it should he divided. 

Is ann as a' bheagan a thig am moran. 

From the little comes the much. 

Many littles mak a miickle. — Scot. 

The proverbe saith that many a smale makith a grete. — Chaucer. 

Is ann bòidheach 's cba 'n ann dàiclieil. 

Bonnie rather than graceful. 

Is ann da fhein a dli' innsear e. 

Ifs to himself it will he told. 

It's his own affair. 

Is ann da latha roimh 'bliàs, 'bu cliòir do dliuine 
shàr-fhacal a radii. 

Till two days hefore he die, man shoidd not spcah his 
vjcightiest word. 

There is much wisdom in this saying. 

Is ann de'n aon chlòth an cathdath. 
The tartan is all of one stuff. 
Cath-dath = battle-colour. — Armstrong. 

Is ann de'n cheaird a' chungaidli. 

The tools are part of the trade. 

At. Is i 'cheaird. 

'S i leith na ceirde an ùirleis — The tools are half the trade. — Ir. 

Is ann de'n tuaigh an t-shamhach. 

The haft helongs to the axe. 

See ' Cuir an tuagh '. 

Is ann le làimh ghlain bu cbòir altachadh. 

One shoidd salute (or say grace) loith a clean hand. 

See Psalm xxiv. 3, 4. 

Is ann feasgar a dh' aithnichear na fir. 

It's at evening the men are known. 

Is ann fhad 's a bhios an t-slat maotb is fliasa 'lùbadh. 
When the twig is tender it is easiest hent. 

Am meangan nach sniomh thu, 

Cha spion thu 'u a chraoibh e. — Dug. Buchanan. 


Best to bend while it is a twig. — Eng. 
Piega I'albero quando è giovane.—Ital. 
Den Baum muss man biegen, weil er jung ist. — Germ. 

Is ann goirid o d' bliial a mholadli tu e. 
It is near your mouth you ivould praise him. 

Is ann goirid roimh 'bhàs a mholadli tu e. 
It is near his end you, ivould praise him. 

Is ann mu seach a sheidear na builg. 

By turns the bellows are blown. 

Is ann mu seach a thogar an dun. 

It is by degrees the fort is built. 

At. 'S ami uidh air uidh a thogar na caisteil. 

Eome was not built in a day. — Ital., Fr., Germ., Eng. 

Is ann mar a bhios neach e fhein a dh' fhidireas e 

As a man is himself he thinks of his neighbour. • 

Is ann oidhche roimh a bhàs bu choir do dhuine athais 
a thilgeadh. 

A man should not vent his reproach till the night before 
his death. 

Macintosh's gloss on this iS; * make a satire or proverb '. 

Is ann oidhche Shamlma 'chnagadh tu cnò. 

On Halloween you would crack a nut. 

One of the favourite Halloween pastimes was burning of nuts. 

Is ann ort a chaidh uisge nan uibhean. 

You had the egg- water spilt on you. 

Macintosh says, ' water in which eggs are boiled is reckoned 
destructive to the constitution,' and that ' this proverb is applied 
to those that are seized with a fit of illness '. 

Is ann ort a thàinig an ceal. 
What a stupor has eome over thee. 
Is ann romhad a dh' eirich an naosg. 
It's before you the snipe rose. 
This was reckoned a good omen. 

Is aobhach duine 'an taice ri 'chuid. 
A man is cheerful near his own. 

Is aotrom air do dhruim an t-iomradh. 
The rowing is light on your hack. 


Is aotrom gach saoghalach sona. 

Light is the htcky lo7ig-livcr. 

Is àrd ceann an fheidh 's a' chreachann. 

High is the stag's head on the mouiitain crags. 

Is bàiglieil duine ris an anam. 

A man is tender of his life. 

All that a man hatli will he give for his life. — Job. ii. 4. 

Life is sweet. — Eng. 

In one of the West Highland Tales (Campbell, II. 355), Brian, 
son of the King of Greece, is asked by a Giant, whether he would 
rather lose his head, or go to steal the White Sword of Light in 
the realm of Big Women. ' 'S bàigheil duine ri 'bheatha — kind is 
a man to his life,' said Brian, and chose the latter alternative. 

Is balbli gach sian ach a' ghaoth. 

Dumb is all weather but the wind. 

See ' An uair a laidheas '. 

Is beadarrach an ni an onoir. 

Honour is a tender thing. 

This is very Celtic. ' Take my honour, take my life.' 

Is beag a dheanadh grot do 'n fhear a dh' òladh crùn. 

Little wotdd a groat do for him who drinks a croivn. 

This probably refers to a soldier's pay, which was 4d. a day at 
no very ancient date. 

Is beag a ghearaineas sinn, ge mor a dh' fhiiilingeas 

Little we complain, though we siiffer much. 

This saying is given by Macintosh without any note. Wlien- 
ever it may have originated, it expressed with native gentleness a 
very sad truth in reference to a considerable part of our Highland 
population. It was true a century ago, and it is true still. 

Is beag a th' eadar do ghal 's do ghàire. 

Your crying and laughing are not far removed. 

Is beag an dèirc nach fhearr na 'n t-èuradh. 

Small is the alms that is not letter than a refusal. 

Is beag a rud nach fhearr na ditiltadh. — Ir. 

Is beag am fathunn nach cktinn ditliis. 

It's a faint rumour that two won't hear. 

Is beag an leisgeul a bheir a' chailleach do 'n chill. 

It's a little excuse that brings the old ivoman to the 

Excuse = cause, and churchyard = death. 

Al. Is faoin an gnothach. It's a slight thing. 


Ts beag an rud a bheir duine do 'n cliill, 'n uair a bliios 
a leannan innte. 

Ifs a small thing that hrings a man to the, churchyard, 
ivlien his s^veetheart is there. 

Is beag an t-iogbnadh amadan a bhi leannanacbd ri 

It's no vjonder to see a fool courting an idiot. 

Is beag cuid an latba fhlich dheth. 
TJie rainy days share of it is smcdl. 
Meaning that little has been saved. 

Is beag an ni nach deireadh a's t-Fbogbar. 

It's a little thing that doesn't hinder in Autumn. 

Is beag fios aig fear an tàimb air ànradb fear na mara. 
Hie household manhiows little of the seaman's hardship. 

Is beag 's is mor a th' eadar a' choir 's an eucoir. 
There is little a.nd much betwixt right and wrong. 
Is beag a ta eadar an choir a's an eugcòix. — Ir. 
'S mooar ta eddjT y chair as yn aggair. — Manx. 
Ge mor an diùbhras beusan 

Eadar encoir agus coir, 
Cha 'n eòl domh àite seasaimh, 

Gun a chos air aon diubh dhò. — Rob Donn. 

Is beag orm an rud nach binn learn. 
/ like iwt what I find not sicect. 

Is beag orm troidh air ais an t-seann-duine. 

I like not tlu old man's lackv-ard stc'p. 

Al. Is coma learn fliein an rud a bhiodh ann, ceum air ais an 
t-seann duine. 

Said by young Eonald MacDonell of Strontian, at the battle 
of Kin-Loch-Lochy, ' Blàr nan Leine' (1544), on seeing his father 
give way after receiving a wound in the head from 'Raonull 
Gallda'. The remark was suggested by that of his father, on 
seeing his son for the first time for several years, after having 
been deserted by him in the hour of need, "S coma leam fhein an 
rud a bhiodh ann, armachd a' ghill' òig, 's e 'teicheadh — I don't 
care for the arming of the youth who runs av:uy\ Young Ronald 
is said to have added to the above remark, ' Seo mar bu choir a 
bhi, am mac a dhol 'an ionad an athar — This is as it ought to hn 
— the son in the place of the father' ; and rushed upon the enemy, 
whom he overcame. There is something wildly noble, though 
unpleasant in this. See Cuairtear, Dec. 1841, pp. 282-3. 


Is beag orm na 'm biodh ann srntli-bheannachadh a' 

I should dislike to liear the fluent blessing of the plunderer. 

This is still true, even though highway robbery be no more in 
fashion. Some grave and reverend Bank Directors have illustrated 
this shockingly in modern times. 

Is bean-tighe an luchag 'n a tigli fhein. 
The little mouse is mistress in her own house. 
Is maighistreas an luchog air a thigh fèin.— Jr. 

Is beò diiine 'an deigh a shàracliadh, ach cha bheò e 
'an deigh a nàrachadh. 

A man may survive distress, hut not disgrace. 

Al. an deigh a dhaoine — after his people — an deigh a nàire — 
after his shame. 

The Ulster version is identical with the latter. The senti- 
ment is very Celtic and honourable, but common to all the higher 
races. ' Death before dishonour ' has been the motto of all heroes 
and martyrs of every nation. 

El hombre sin honra peor es que un muerto. — Span. 

Is beò diiine air bheagan, ach cha bheò e gun dad idir. 
One can live on little, hit not on nothing. 
A good motto for Parochial Boards. 

Is beò na h-eòin, ged nach seobhagan nil' iad. 

The birds live, though not all haivks. 

A fine quiet suggestion for statesmen and conquerors. 

Is beò duine ged nach sàthach. 
A mail may live though not full. 

This is nowhere more illustrated than in the Highlands ; what 
phrenologists call ' Alimentiveness ' is at a very low llgm-e there. 

Is bicheanta na tràithean. 
Tlie meeds are frequent. 

This saying mnst have originated with a very abstemious and 
probably miserly person. 

Is bigid e sid, is bigid e sid, mar a thuivt an dreathan, 
an uair a thug e Ian a ghuib as a' mhuir. 

'Tis the less for that, the less for that, as the vjren said, 
when he sipped a hill-full out of the sea. 

Is binn gach ian 'n a dhoire fhein. 

Sweet sings each bird in his own grove. 
Al. 'S binn an eoin far am beirear e. — Sweet is a bird's 
voice cohere lie was born. 


Is binn gach glòir bho 'n duine bheairteach, 

Is mil bho 'bliial a' ghobaireachcl ; 

Is searbh a' choir bho 'n aimbeairteacli, 

Is cian a ghlòir bho ghliocas. 

8vMct is the talk of the vjeaWiy man, 

Like honey is his prattling ; 

Harsh is the right from the poor man's mouth, 

Far is his talk from wisdom. 

Mills glor gach fir 

Am-bidh cuid agus spreidh ; 

Searbh glor an te bhitheas lomm, 

Bun-os-cionn do lablirann se. — Ir. 

Is bior gach sràbh 's an oidhche. 

Every straw is a thorn at night. 

This must have been said by a Celtic Sybarite. 

Is blàth an fhuil, ged is ann an craicionn nan con i. 
Blood is warm, though it he hut in a dog's skin. 
Al. 'an sròn muice — In a pig's nose. 

Al. Is blath fuil nan cat 'nan craicionn fheiu —Cai's hlood is 
warm in their own skin. 

Is blàtli anail na màthar. 
Warm is the mothers hrcath. 
The mither's breath is aye sweet. —Scot, 
A beautiful saying. 

Is blath lodan na broiga. 

Warin is the pool in the shoe. 

Said to youngsters complaining of leaky shoes. 

Is bochd am fear nach fhaigh a leòir a's t-Fliogliar. 
He's a jMor man who vjon't get his Jill in Autiimn. 

Is bochd am pòsadh nach fhearr na 'n dubh-chosnadh. 

It's a poor marriage that is not hetter than hard service. 

This seems a foolish sentiment, but the 'dubh-chosnadh,' 
literally ' black-service ' refers to out-door work, seldom desirable 
for women. 

Is bochd an ainnis lomanach. 
Truly poor is the naked needy. 

Is bochd an rud nach fhiach iarraidh. 
It's a poor thing that's not vjorth asking. 


Is bòidheach an luchag 's a' mhir arbhair. 
Pretty is the mouse in the corn-plot. 
This sentiment is worthy of Kobert Burns. 

Is bòidheach leis an fheannaip; a gorm garrach flii'in. 

The croio thinks her own ghastly chicle a leauty. 

See 'Ge clubh am fitheach'. 

Is bratliair clo'n amadan an t-amhlair. 

The rude jester is brother to the fool. 

Is bràthair do'n chadal ceann ri làr. 

Head laid down is brother to sleep. 

Is bràthair do' n chuthacli an òige. 

Youth is the brother of madness. 

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a chikl. — Prov. xxii. 15. 

Is bràthair do 'n diosg an tuairnear. 

The turner is brother to the dish. 

Is bràthair do'n mhadadh am mèirleach. 

TJie thief is brother to the hound. 

A very respectable sentiment. 

Is bràthair do Niall Gille-Calum. 

Ilalcolm is brother to Neil. 

' Par nobile fratrum,' no doubt. 

Is buaine aon diùltadh na dà-thabhartas-dhiag. 

Oìie refusal is longer rememhered than a dozen offers. 

Al. Millidh aon diùltadh, &c. — One refusal spoils, Sc. 

Is buaine 'm meangan a gheilleas na 'n crann mor a 

The tvjig that yields will outlive the great tree that bends. 

Is buaine an buinneàn maoitli (tender twigjnà. an crann broni- 
anta (stubborn tree). — Ir. 

Is buaine bladh na saoglial. 
Benoum is m,ore lasting than life. 
Is buaine cliù nà saoghal. — Ir. 
See ' Is beò duine '. 

Is buaine bliadhna na Nollaig. 
Year lasts longer than Christmas. 

Is buaine dùthchas na oilean. 

Blood is stronger than brecdi/ng. 

Is treise an diichas na an oileanihuiu. — Ir. 

Naturam expellas furca, tamen usc[ue recurret. — Hor. 


Is buaine cùl na agliaiclh. 

Back lasts longer than front. 

A cheese, a stack of hay, peats, &c., would be more freely used 
at first than at last. The moral meaning may be, that feuds last 
longer than friendship. 

Is buaine na gach ni an nàire. 

Shame is more lasting than anything. 

This is very Celtic. 

Schande duurt langer dan armoede — Shame lasts longer than 
poverty. — Dutch. 

Is buaine seud na 'luacb. 

A gem lasts longer than its value. 

Is buaireadh gach sine a' gbaoth. 

All change of loeather is due to the wind. 

Is buan meachdann na folachd. 

Long lasts the rod whose root sprang from blood, 

Al. Is buan cuimhne, &c. — Long is the memory, d;c. 

A proverb worthy of Iceland or Corsica. 

Is buan gach olc. Uvil lives long. 
'S beayn. dagh oik. — Manx. 

Onde Urter voxe mest, og forgaae senest — III weeds grow best 
and last longest. — Dan. 

Is buidhe le amadan imrich. 
Fides are aye fond o' flittin. — Scot. 
Al. Is miann. Is toigh. 
Is miann le amadan imirce. — Ir. 

Is buidhe le bochd beagan. 

A poor man is glad of a little. 

Is buidhe le bocht a bh-faghann (ivhat he gets). — Ir. 

'S booiagh yn voght er yn veggan. — Manx. 

Is buidhe le bochd eanraich, ged nach bi e làn- 

The p)oor are glad ofhroth, though it he not ivell boiled. 
Poor folks are glad of pottage. — Eng. 

Is btiidheach Dia de 'n fhirinn. 

Truth is pleasing to God. 

Is buileach a thilg thu clach oirnn. 

You have thoroughly throivn a stone at lis. 

Is càirdeach an cù do'n bhanais. 
The dog is friendly to the wedding. 


Is call do chaillich a poca, 's gun tuille aice. 

The loss of the old wife' spoke is heavy, when it is her all. 

Is cam 's is direach a tliig an lagh. 

The laiv comes crooked arid straight. 

See ' Is beag 's is mor'. 

Is caol an tend as nach seinn e. 

Ifs a slender string he can't take a tune from. 

Is caomli le fear a cliaraid', acli 's e smior a chridhe a 

Dear is a kinsman, hut the jnth of the heart is a fostcr- 

This is the strongest of all the sayings on this subject. 

Is càraid sin, mar a tliuirt an fheannag ri 'casan. 

That's a pair, as the cfroio said to her feet. 

Al. Is dithis dhuinn sin. 

Tliey're a bonnie pair, as the craw said o' his legs. — Ecnt. 

Is ceannach an t-omhan air a' bhainne-theth. 

The froth is scarcely worth the hot inilk. 

' Omhan' is the switched-up froth of warmed mUk or whey. 

Is ceannach air a mhireanan a bheumanan. 

The morsels are scarcely worth the cuts. 

Is cliùtich' an onoir na 'n t-òr. 

Honour is nobler than gold. 

Is ùaisle onoir na or. — Ir. 

Beter arm met eere (iMor ivith honour) dan rijk met schande 
(rich with shame). — Dutch. 

Is CO domhain an t-àth 's an linne. 

The ford is as deep as the pool. 

Is CO fad' oidlich' 'us latha, La Fheill Pàdruig. 

Night and day are eqiial cm St. Patrick's Day. 

This is nearly correct. 

Is CO lionmlior osna aig an righ 's aig an duin' a 's 
isle staid. 

The king sighs as often as the meanest man. 

This occiirs verbatim in D. Buchanan's ' Bruadar '. 

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. — H. IV., P. II., Hi. 1. 

Is CO math dhomh mo chorrag a ghabhail do 'n chloich. 
/ might as well try my finger against a stone. 
A I. Bu cho math, &c., a thumadh 's a' luath — as well dip my 
finger in the ashes. 


Is CO math na 's leòr 'us iomadaidh. 

Enovgh is as good as ahindance. 

Al. Tha gii leòr cho math ri cuilm — Enough is as good as a feast. 

Is CO math peighinn a chaomhiiadh 'us peighinu a 

A penny hained is a penny gained. — Scot. 

Is coimheach an tom iiire. 
Strange is the earthy mound. 
This seems to refer to the grave. 

Is coir comhairle fhir-an-tighe a ghabhail. 
The goodmans advice shoidd he taJccn. 
A polite and sensible suggestion. 

Is coir ni a thasgadh fa chomhair na coise goirte. 

It's well to lay something ly for a sore foot. 

Is coir nidh a thaisgidh le h-aghaidh na coise galair. — Ir. 

Keep something for a sair fit. — Bcot. 

Lay by something for a rainy day. — Eng. 

Is coir smaoineachadh air gach gnothach 'an toiseach. 
Every hisincss ought first to le thought over. 
An excellent advice. 

Is coltach an giinna ris a' phiob. 

Tiie gun is like the pipe. 

Like it as a means of living, somewhat precarious. 

Is coltach an gunna ris an urchair. 

The gun is like the shot. 

This would apply to many speeches of persons in and out of 

Is coltach an trù ris an troich. 

The fool and the dicarf are alike.. 

The word ' trù ' is not found in any Dictionary, and is not now 
in use. But it is given by Macintosh, with the translation of the 
abo^e proverb — ' It is all alike, whether the great man's fool or 
his dwarf'. I have therefore retained this saying as Macintosh 
gave it. The word ' tnù ' means ' en^y,' ' wrath,' &c., and the 
Irish word ' tru ' means ' face,' ' gaunt,' &c. 

Is coma learn an md nach toigh leam, eireagan a' dol 
'n an coilich. 

I nice not 2>uUcts hccoraing cocks. 

This is -svittier than most of the oratory against Female Medical 
Education and other Women's Eights. 


Is coma leam comunn an oil. 
/ care not for the drinking fellowshij'). 
Is cuma liom cumann bean-leanna (ale-wife). — Ir. 
This saying illustrates the fact that the Celts, in Scotland or 
elsewhere, are not prone to excess either in meat or in drink. 

Is coma leam comunn gille na geire ; ge math a thois- 
eacli, bu ro olc a clheireadh. 

/ like not the tallow lad's company ; however good at 
first, very had at last. 

Al. mur bi an toiseach searbh, gu dearbh bidh an deireadh ann. 

This is a Lewis and Long Island saying, of which no explana- 
tion has been given. 

Is coma leam fear-fuadain 's e luath labhar. 

I donH like a wayfarer who talks loud and volubly. 

Is coma leis an rigli Eogliau ; 's coma le Eoghan co 

The King doesn't care for Eiven ; and Ewen cares not 
whether or no. 

Who Ewen was, is not said, but he was perhaps the inde- 
pendent miller that lived on the banks of Dee. 

Is coma leis an t- saoghal c' ait 'an tuit e. 
Wealth cares not where it falls. 
There is a rich truth in this observation. 

Is corrach culaidh air aon lunn. 
A boat is unsteady on one roller. 

Is corrach gob an dubhain. 
Uncertain is the point of the hook. 
See ' Is olc a' bho-laoigh '. 

Is corrach ubh air aran. 
A71 egg on bread is slippery. 

Is crion a'chùil as nach goirear. 
It's a small corner from vjhich no cry can come. 
The propagation of the Penny Press and Telegraph illustrates 
this beautifully. 

Is cruaidh an cath as nach tig aon fhear. 

It's a hard fight from which one man doesn't come. 

Al. Is olc am blàr as nach tar cuid-eigin. 

It's a hard-fought field, where no man escapes unkilled. — Eng. 

It's a sair field where a's slain. — Scot. 

Is cruaidh a leònar an leanabli nach innis a ghearan. 
The child is sadly hurt that doesn't tell his illness. 
Al. Is olc a bhuailear au leanabh nacli fliaod gearain — The bairn 
is sair dung (beaten) that maunna complain. — Scot. 

Is cruaidh an leanabh a bhriagadh, nach urrainn a 
ghearan a dhianamh. 

'Tis hard to soothe the child that cannot tell his ailment. 

Is cruaidh an t-Earrach anns an cùnntar na faochagan. 

It's a liard Spring ivhcn the ivilks are counted. 

Al. Is lorn an claclach air an cùnntar, &c. — It's a bare shore, d-c. 

This is a painfully graphic illustration of tlie extent to which 
dearth in the 'good old times' often prevailed in the Highlands ; 
when wilks were resorted to as the last resovu"ce from starvation. 

Is cruaidh na dh' fheumar. What's needed is hard. 
Is cumhann bial do sporain. 
Narrow is the moidh of your purse. 

Is cuinge brù na biadh. 

There is more food than room for it. 

Said of a hospitable house. 

Is da thrian tionnsgnadh. Begun is tivo-thirds done. 

Al. Is trian oibre, &c. 

Is trian de 'n obair tùs a chur. — Ir. 

'ApxTj TJfii.av navTos — Beginning is half of the whole. — Hesiod. 

Dimidium facti qui caepit habet. — Hor. 

So Fr., Ital., Span., Port., Germ., Dutch, Dan. 

Is dall duine ann an cùil fir eile. 
A man is blind in another man's corner. 
Al. far nach eòlach — ivhere he is not acquainted. 
Is dall suil a g-cuil duine eile. — Ir. 

Is dall gach aineolach. Blind is the unacquainted. 

Dall pob anghyfarwydd. — Welsh. 

Dall fyddar pob trwch — Blind and deaf is the blockhead. — Do. 

Is damh thu, 's gu'm meal thu d' ainm. 
You are an ox, and may you enjoy the name. 
Is dàna cù air a dhùnan fhèin. 
A clog is hold on his ovjn dunghill. 
Al. aig a dhorus f hein — at his own door. 
Is teann gach madadh air a charnan fein. — Ir. 
Every dog is valiant at his own door. — Eng. 
Chien sur son fumier est hardi. — Fr. 

Al. Is ladarna coileach air òtrach fhein — A coch is bold, c&c. 


Every cock is proud on his own dungliill. — Eng. 
Every cock craws crousest on his ain midden. — Scot. 
Galliis in suo sterquilinio plurimum potest. — Seneca. 
Cada gallo canta en su muladar. — Stxm. 
Een haan is stout op zijn eigen erf. — Dutch. 

Is dàna cuilean 'an uchd trèoir. 

Bold is the pu/ppy in the lap of strength. 

Al. Is làidir an lag — Bold is the iveak, d-c. 

This is finely illustrated sometimes in cases of the Cives Roma- 
nus ; at other times more amusingly, or offensively, by puppies 
« dressed in a little brief authority,' or representing a ' great party '. 

Is dàna duine 'n a cliùil fhein. 

A man is hold in his oivn corner. 

Diau cynnadl taiog o'id^ — Boll talks the hoor at home. — IFelsh. 

Is dàna 'theid duine air a cliuid fhein. 

A man is hold with what's his own. 

Al. Is leomhan gach duine, &c. — Every man is a lion, d;c. 

A man's aye crouse in his ain cause. — Scot. 

Men's belief in their right to do what they like with 'their 
own' sometimes makes them forget entirely that ' The earth is tlie 
Lord's, and the fulness thereof '. 

Is deacair a' chaora 'ghoid làmh ri tigh a' mlièirlich. 
It's diffic'idt to steal the sheep near the thief s house. 
Is diblidli ciochran gun mhàthair. 
Helpless is the motherless suckling. 
Is dichioUach duine air a shon fhein, 
A man is dUigentfor himself. 
Is dileas duine dha fhein. 
A man is faithfid to himself. 

Is diombuan an torn 'us teine ris. 
8oon hums the hillock on fire. 

The allusion is to the burning of heather, called in the Low- 
lands 'Muirburn'. — See Professor Veitch's Hillside Rhymes, p. 14. 

Is diombuan gach cas air tir gun eòlas. 
Fleeting is the foot in a strange land. 
Very characteristic of Celts, in whom the love of home, however 
far they may wander, is quite indestructible. 

Is diù a' cheaird nach fogliluimear. 
It's a poor trade that is not learned. 

A trade can't be worth much that is not popular. It may also 
mean that those who half-learn their trades are of little use. 

Is diù teine fearn ùr ; 

Is diù duine mì-rùn ; 

Is diù dibhe fion sean ; 

Ach 's e diù an domhain drocli bliean. 

Worst offuef, alder green ; 

Worst of humcm, malice keen ; 

Worst of drink, wine without life ; 

Worst of all things, a had wife. 
The literal meanincj of ' fion sean ' is ' old ^^ine/ but I think 
the old Celts knew what was what in wine as well as in other 

Is diù nach gabh comhaiiie, 's is diù 'ghabhas gach 

JVlio U'On't take advice is tvorthless ; who takes all 
advice is the same. 

Al. Is trnagh — is 'pitiful. 

Is diiiid fear na li-eisimeil. Tiie dependent is timid. 

Is dòbhaidh an compauach an t-acras. 

Hunger is a violent comjxmion. 

Is don' an fheòil air nach gabh salann ; 's miosa na 
sin na daoine nach gabh comhairle. 

TJie flesh that ivont take salt is had ; icorse are they 
that won't take counsel. 

Is don' an fheile 'chuireas duine fhein air an iomairt. 
It's an wiihapi^y generosity that drives a nuin to his 

This is true of many a good Highland family. 

Is don' an gniomh a bhi luchdachadh na hiinge air 

It's a had thing to load a ship on a tidal rock. 

Is don' an leisgeul a' mhisg. 

Drunkenness is a had excuse. 

This sajàng is worthy of the wisest of judges, before whom in- 
toxication has often been pleaded in mitigation. Lord Hermand's 
saying is specially memorable. — See Cockburn's Memorials. 

Per con. Is fhearr a' mhisg na "bhi gun leisgeul — Drunkenness 
is better than no excuse. 

Is dona 'mharcachd nach fhearr na sior-choiseachd. 
It's a had mount that's not hetter than constant wcUking. 


Is don' an t-suiridhe letli-cheannach. 
The sheepish vjooing is contemptible. 

Is draghaile caraid amaideacli na nàmhaid glic. 
A silly friend is more troublesome than a wise enemy. 
Better a wise enemy than a foolish, friend. — Arab. 
Save me from my friends ! — Eng. 

Is dù do chù donnalaicli. Holding is proper to a dog. 

Is dual do 'n bhàrd 'athair aithris. 

It's natural for the bard to tell of his father. 

Is dubh dha fhein sin. 

That is black (sad) for himself 

Is duilich a cleachdadh 'thoirt blio làinili. 

The hand hardly gives up its habit. 

Al. Is duilich toirt bho 'n làimh a chleachd. — It's hard to heat 
the skilled hand. 

Al. Is ionmhuinn leis an làimli na chleachd. — The hand loves 
^vhat it has practised. 

Is duilich am fear nach bi 'n a chadal a dluisgadh. 
It is hard to waken him vjho is not asleep. 

Is duilich an coileach-dubh a ghleidheadh bho 'n 

It is dijfficidt to keep the black-cock from the heather. 

Is duilich an nàire 'thoirt as an ait' anus nach bi i. 
It's difficidt to get shame where it is not. 

Is duilich bo a chur air laogh, 'us a gaol air gamhainn. 
A coio wont take to a calf, when her darling is a stirk. 

Is duilich burn glan a thoirt a tobar salacli. 

It's difficult to draw pure water from a dirty well. 

Is duilich camadh 'thoirt a daraig, a dh'fhàs anns an 

It's hard to take the tiuist out of the oak, that grew in 
the sapling. 

See ' An car a bhios '. 

Is duilich ciall a thoirt do amadan. 
It's hard to give sense to a fool. 

This is the same as Dr. Johnson's saying, about gÌA'ing under- 
standing to his hearer. 


Is duilich cupan Ian a gliiùlan. 

A full Clip is hard to carry. 

Is duilich duin' a lorgachadh troimh amhuinn. 

It is difficult to track a man through a river. 

Our greatest Scottish king, Eobert the Bruce, once proved the 
truth of this, when followed by blood-hounds in Galloway, set on 
by less respectable creatures. See Barbour's Bruce, B.V., 11. 300-50. 

Is duilich rath a chur air duine dona. 

You cant put luck on a worthless man. 

Ekki ma feigum forSa — The fey one cannot be saved. — Icel. 

Is duilich roghainn a thoirt a diù. 

'Tis hard to choose the best of worst. 

Is duilich triubhas a thoirt de mhàs 16m. 

It's ill to take the trews off a hare htUtock. 

Is deacair brighiste a bhaint de thòin lorn. — Ir. 

It's ill to tak' the breeks aff a Hielandman. — Scot. 

Is duine coir e, 's na iarr a chuid. 

He's a fine man, if you don't ask of him. 

There is a delicate Celtic irony in this. 
Is duine coir fear da bho ; 
Is duine ro-chòìr fear a tri ; 
'S cha 'n fhaigh fear a coig no sia 
Coir no ceart le fear nan naoi. 

The tivo-cow man is a ivorthy man ; very worthy is the 
man of three ; and the man of five or six can do nothing 
against the man of nine. 

Is duine dona gun fhèum a chuireadh cuireadh orm 
fhein 'us caitheamh. 

He is a pitiful fellow who would invite me and leave 
me to pay. 

Is duine gach òirleach dheth. He's a man every inch. 

Is e am bial a dh' obas mu dheireadh. 

It's the moidh that gives in last. 

Is e am brag a ni an cruadhachadh. 

When the cracking begins the grain gets dried. 

Is e 'm broc a 's luaithe dh' fhairicheas 'fhaileadh fliein. 

The badger is the first to smell himself. 

Is e am bròn a's fhasa fhaotainn. 

Grief is easiest to get. 


Is e 'm bualadh cluigeiueacli a ni an croclli trotanach. 
The had tlirashing makes the brisk corns. 
Careless thrashing leaves ears of corn on the straw, which makes 
the cows all the more lively. 

Is e 'm fàth mil 'm bitheadh tu, ciod e 'glieabliadh tu. 

Your quest always is, what you can get. 

Is e am Foghar gaothmhor a ni an core càtlimlior. 

TJie windy Autumn makes the chaffy oats. 

Is e 'n cadal fada 'ni 'n t-iomradh tetli. 

Long sleep makes hot roiuing. 

Is e an ceann gòrach a ni na casan luaineacli. 

Giddy head makes gadding feet. 

Is e 'n ceo Geamhraidh a ni 'n catliadli Earraicli, 

The Winter mist makes the Spring snoiv-drift. 

Is e 'n ciall-ceannaich a's fhearr. 

Bouglit wit is best. — Eng. 

Al. Is fhearr aon ghliocas ceannaich na ditliis (or dhà dhiag) 
a nasgaidh — Better one wisdom bought, than two (or a do::en) got for 

Keeayl chionnit yn cheeayl share, mannagh vel ee kionnit ro 
gheyr — Bought %i>it is best, if not bought too dear. — Manx. 

Is i an chiall cheannaight' is fearr. — Ir. 

Uadrjiiara fxadrjiiara. — Herod. Kocumenta documenta. — Lat. 

Wit bought mak's wise folk. — Scot. 

An ounce of wit that's bought is worth a pound that's taught. 

Per con. Is fhearr aon chiall-caisg na da chiall-diag ionnsaich 
— Better one mother-wit than twelve taught. 

An ounce o' mither-wit is worth a pund o' clergy. — Scot. 

Is e an ciad thaom de 'n taigeis a 's teotha dli' i. 

The first squirt of the haggis is the hottest. 

The first fuff o' a fat haggis is aye the bauldest. — Scot. 

Is e 'n cleachdadh a ni teoma. 

Practice makes ex'pert. 

Usus promptum facit. — Lat. Practice makes perfect. — Eng. 

Is e an cùnntas ceart a dli' fhàgas na càirdean buidh- 

Correct counting keeps good friends. 

Cuntas glan fhàgas càirde buidheach.— Jr. 

Be brothers, and keep between you the accounts of merchants. 
— Arab. 


Count like Jews, and 'gree like Christians. — Scot. 
Short reckonings make long friends. — Eng. 
Kurze rechnung, lange Freundschaft. — Germ. 
Eli'ene rekeningen maken goede vrienden. — Dutch. 
Les bons comptes font les bons amis. — Fr. 
Conta de perto, amigo de longe. — Port. 

Is e 'n dealachadh-beò a ni 'n leòn goirt. 

Farting ivith the lixing makes the sore icouncl. 

There is much truth in this. Parting with the dead is irre- 
mediable, and therefore tolerable, — separation from the living is 
all the sorer, when re-union is possible, yet hopeless. 

Is e 'n duine diomhain a 's fhaide mhaireas. 
The idle man lives longest. 

See MacIntjTe's * Oran do 'n Mhusg '. This is generally true, 
though many of the hardest workers have attained great age. 

Is e 'n Geamhradh luath an Geamliradh buau. 
Early vnnter lasts long. 

Is e 'n gille 'n t-aod; ch, ach 's e 'n laoclian am biadh. 
The clothes are the hoy, hut the food heats all. 

Is e 'n saor gobhlacli 'ni 'n gogan dionacli. 
Ifs the squatting joiner that makes the tight cog. 

Is e 'n seasamh a 's mo, ach 's e 'n suidbe 's ciallaicbe. 
Standing is higger, hut sitting is wiser. 

Is e 'n suidbe bochd a ni 'n garadb beairteacb. 
The poor seat makes the rich warming. 
Al. For boclid 'iosal,' and for beairteach 'nasal'. 
Ghnidh suidh isiol goradh àrd. — Ir. 
The lowest seat is nearest the fire. 

Is e an suidbe docbaracb 's an tigb-osd' a 's fhearr. 
TJie uneasy seat in the alehouse is the best. 
Another testimony to the sober habits of Highlanders. 

Is e 'n t-àicbeadb math dara puinc a 's fbearr 's an 

Good denial is the second hest point in law. 

' Denied' and ' Quoad ultra denied' are stereotyped forms of ex- 
pression in our Scottish law suits. 

Is e 'n t-ionnsacbadh òg an t-ionnsacbadb boidbeacb. 

TJie early learning is the pretty learning. 

Al. &m. foghlum gun taing — makes the sure learning. 

Al. am ealanta — makes expert. 


Is e 'n t-uisge salach a ni 'niglie'ghlan. 

The dirty water makes the clean ivashing 

Is e ath-thilleadh na ceathairn' a 's miosa. 

The return of the reavers is u-orst. 

Because they would carry off what they spared before. 

' Ceatharu' = troop, fighting band, banditti — whence ' cateran' 
and 'kern'. 

' Ceathairne' = peasantry, males fit to bear arms. 

Is e bacadh duin' big 'aimhleas. 

Thwarting a young man is his mischief. 

Is e deireadh gach cogaidh sith. 

The end of each tvar is feace. 

Is e deireadh nan ceannaichean dol a shniomh shioman. 

The end of merchants is ttvisting straiv-ropes. 

A Lewis modern saying. The 'merchants' referred to are the 
small dealers in country places, who often come to grief through 
ignorance of business and bad debts. 

Is 6 Diluain iuchair na seachdain. 

Monday is the key of the v:eck. 

A good, sensible maxim. 

Is 6 do chab nach deach' fhalach 's an làr an la a 
rugadh tu. 

Your ' gah' tvas not hidden under ground the clay you 
%cere lorn. 

Said to forward talkative young people. 

Is e do chiad chliù d' alladh. 

Your first rcinde is your renovm, 

Al. Is e cliù duin' a chiad iomradh. 

Al. Is e ciad iarraidh duin' a chliù. 

Is 6 do shùil do cheannaiche. 

Tliine eye is thy merchant. 

To thine eye, O merchant. — Arab. Caveat emptor. — Lot. 

Is 6 duin' a ni, ach 's e cù a dh' innseas. 

Hes ci man who does; he's a dog wlio tells. 

Manly men may do things, which to go and speak of is not 
manly. To boast of things never done is worse still. 

Is e farmad a ni treabhadh. 

Emulcdion makes 'ploughing. 

In letters of gold, put up in the Logic Class-room of Edinburgh 
University by Sir William Hamilton, are these words of Hesiod, 
stirring to young minds, 

'Ayadrj 8' epis rjbf ^poToìcri. 


Is e fortan no mifhortan fir bean. 

A man's wife is his fortune or misfortune. 

Is e galar a bheireadh air na gobhair nach itheadh iad 
an eidlieann. 

Disease only loould keep goats from eating ivy. 
See 'An rud a chùm'. 

Is e innleachd seilge a sior leannmhuinn. 
The art of hunting is ever pursuing it. 
Is e iomadaidh nan làmh a ni an obair aotrom. 
Many hands make light loork. — Eng., Scot. 
Al. lionmhorachd nan làmli. 

Is e leanabh fhein a's luaithe 'bhaisteas an sagart. 
The priest christens his ain bairn first. — Scot. 
'Sea leanabh fein a bhaisteas a sagart air tùs. — Ir. 
This saying must be held, by all who respect priests, to have 
originated before marriage was forbidden to them. 

Is e meathadh gach cùise dàil. 

Delay makes causes divine. 

Al. a bhi 'g a sineadh — adjourning. 

Is e miann a' chait a chniadachadh. 

The cat desires to he caressed. 

Is e miann na lach an loch air nach bi i. 

The duck's desire is the water where she's not. 

Is e mo charaide caraid na cruaidhe. 

My friend is the friend in straits. 

Is e mo roghainn a tha 'n uachdar. 

My choice is uppermost. 

Is e moch-eiridh na Lnaine 'ni an t-suain Mhàirt. 

The Monday early-rising makes the Tticsday sleep. 

Is e 'n griasaiche math an duine 's briagaich' air 

The good shoemaker is the greatest of liars. 

Is e na deuchainnean a ni na dearbhainnean. 
Trials make proof. 
Is e sgeul an àigh a b' àill le Pol. 
It's a lucky story that would please Paul. 
Wlio Paul was we can't say — doubtless a critic of the ' nil 
admirari' school. 


Is e sgèul an duine bheadaidh na gheabh e 'n tigh a 

The mannerless man tells what he gets at his neighbour's. 

Is e sin an toll a mhill an t-seiclie. 

That's the hole that spoiled the hide. 

Is e sin cnag an sgeòil. Tìiat's the peg of the story. 

Is e sin maide 'g an stad e. 

That's the stick where he'll stop. 

Al. mti'm beil e 'g iomairt — which he's playing ai = He'll come 
to that. The reference is to a game played at sticks or pegs, tixed 
at certain distances. 

Is e sùil a ni sealbh. The eye makes wealth. 
Das Auge des Herrn schafFt mehr als seine beiden Hande — The 
master's eye does more than both his hands. — Germ. 

Is e 'thòn a bha trasda 'n uair a rinn e e. 
He sat very aivry when he did it. 

Is èasgaidh an drocb ghille air cbuairt. 

The had servant is brisk abroad. 

Al. 'an tigh a' choimhearsnaich — in the neighbour's house. 

Esgud drygfab yn nhy arall. — Welsh. 

Is èasgaidlie nòin na madainn. 

Noo7i is more lively than morning. 

Is èasgaidhe nòin nà maidin. — Ir. 

' Nòin, ' derived doubtless like ' noon ' from ' nona,' = 3 p.m., 
means both noon and afternoon in our Gaelic. In Irish and 
Welsh it means the former, in Manx, 'traa nonney' = evening. 
Most people are more lively in the evening than in the morning. 

Is eibhinn an obair an t-sealg. 

Hunting is delightful ivork. 

This saying occurs in our oldest hunting song, known as ' A 
Chomhachag,' The Owl, by Donald MacDonald. 

Nid difyrwch ond milgi — ond gwalch — No diversion like a 
greyhound — like a hawk. — Welsh. 

Every run in the desert exhilarates. — Arab. 

Is eigin dol far am bi 'n fhòid. 

One mitst go where his grave awaits him. 

See 'Bheir fòid'. 

Is eigin do 'n fbeumach a blii falbbanacli. 

The needy must keep moviiig. 

This is a recognised maxim of Metropolitan Policemen. 

Is èudar do cbàirdean dealacbadh. Friends must part. 


Is èudar gabhail le each mall, o 'u nach faighear na 's 

Tlie slow horse must le taJ:en if no better can he got. 
Is fad an amliainn air nach fhaighear ceann. 
It's a long river tvhose head can't le found. 
Al. an rathacl — the rood. 

Is fad an dàil o 'n oidhirp. 

Long is the delay from the attempt. 

Is fad an eubh o Loch-Obha, 'us cobhair o Chlann 

Fars the cry from Loch Awe, and help from the race of 

The Campbells claim descent from Diarmad O'Diiiblme, Der- 
mid, grandson of Duine, tlie Launcelot of tlie Fingaliau tragedy. 
The above saying is supposed to have originated at the time of a 
great defeat of the Campbells mider the Earl of Arg^dl, by the Gor- 
dons under the Earl of Huntly, at Allt-Chuailleachain in Glenlivet, 
in 1594 ; where Campbell of Lochnell proved signally treacherous 
to his chief. — See Gregory's West. HighL, &c., p. 256. 

Is fad' an oidliche gu latha do fhear na droch mhnatha. 

It's a long night till morning for the husband of the 
lad ivife. 

See Mrs. Caudle's Lectures. 

Is fad' an oidhche gu latha, arsa casan loisgte. 

Long is night till dag, said the burned feet 

Is fad an tinichioll nach tachair. 

It's a long round that meets not. 

Is fada cobhair o mhnaoi 's a muinntir 'an Eirinn. 

Far is aid from her whose folk are in Ireland. 

Is fada làmh an fheumaich. Long is the arm of the needy. 

Al. Is fada làmh an aire, ach ma 's fhada, cha reamhar — The 
hand of poverty is lone/ and lean. 

Is fada slios na bliadhna. The year's length is long. 

Lit. The year's ' slope ' or ' side '. 

Is faoilidhe duine a chuid a thairgse, ged is fheairrd' e 
aige fhein e. 

He is tlie more generous vjho offers his oivn, though he 
would be the better of keeping it. 

The Moral Philosophy of this is excellent, and is just that of 
the Saviour about the widow's mite. The virtue of donations 
implying no sacrifice is very small indeed. 


Is farsuing an rathad mor, agus faodar fhalbh. 
The highivay is ivide, and viay he trod. 

Is farsuing a sgaoileas an dreathann a chasan 'n a 
thigh fhein. 

The wren spreads his feet unde in his own house. 

Al. Is farsuing tigli an dreathainn — The wren's house is wide. 

There is something felicitous in the idea of a wren spreading 
his legs like a potentate at his o^vn hearth. 

Is farsuing bial a' bhothain. 

A vjee house has a ivide mouth. — Scot. 

Ulster proverb in same words. 

Is fas a' choill as nach goirear. 

It's a desert wood lohence no voice is heard. 

Is fhad a bhà thu, 's luath a thàinig thu. 

You are long of coming, and have come full soon. 

Is fhad' a chaidh an Liùnasdail annad. 

The Lammas vjent far into you. 

I.e. You are far gone ; Lammas being the time of year when 
things had reached the verge of dearth before harvest, in olden 

Is fhad' a dh' fhalbhas cas bheo. 
A living foot will go far. 

Is fhada bho'n da latha sin, 's bho bhliadhna 'n Earr- 
aich dhuibh. 

It's long since these two clays, and the year of the hlack 

The 'two days' mean 'changed times'; the 'black Spring,' 
a peculiarly bad year. 

Is fhada bho'n uair sin, bho'n a bha cluas air ròn. 

It's long since the time tvhen the seal had ears. 

The seal's ears are hardly visible. The common phrase, on 
meeting an old acquaintance is, ' 'S fhad o 'n uair sin — It's long 
since that time'. 

Is fhad' thigh a' mhodh a rugadh tu. 

You were horn far from the house of good manners. 

Is fhada tha bàs do sheana-mhair 'n ad chuimhne. 

Yoitr grandmothers death is long in your memory. 
Said to over-sentimental people, or to those who keep up too 
long the remembrance of anything. 


Is fhaid' an latha na 'm brutliach ; bidh sinn uiread 

Tlie day is longer than the hrae ; well he at the top 

A very cheery and plucky sentiment. 

Is fhaide d' fhiacail na d' fhiasag. 

Your teeth are longer tiian your heard. 

Tak a piece ; yir teeth's langer than yir beard.— Scof. 

Is fhaide gu bràtli na gu Bealltainn. 

Its longer to Doomsday than to Whitsunday. 

Ulster proverb in same words. 

Is fliaide gu NoUaig na gu Feill-Màrtainn. 

It's longer to Christmas than to Martinmas. 

Is fhasa cumail na tarruing. 

Better to haiul than draw. — Scot. 

Possession is nine points of the law. — Eng. 

Is fhasa deadh ainm a chall na 'chosnadh. 

A guid name is suner tint than ivon. — Scot. 

Is fhasa sgapadh na tional. 

It's easier to scatter than to gather. 

Is fusa sgapadh na cruinneaghadh. — Ir. 

Is fheairrd' an cai an cat a chur ann. 

The hail tvill he the hetter of 'plotting the cat in. 

Better a mouse i' the pat as nae flesh. — Scot. 

Is fheairrd' an luch samhchair, mar a thuirt hich a' 
mhonaidh ri luch a' bhaile. 

The mouse is the hetter of quietness, as the moor-mouse 
said to the town-mouse. 

This seems to be taken from the well-known fable of the Town 
mouse and Country mouse. 

Is fheairrde briagadair fianuis. 

A liar is the hetter of a voucher. 

Is fearrde a dhearcas brèug fiadhnuise. — Ir. 

See ' Imridh briag gobhal'. 

Is fheairrde bràdh a breacadh gun a bristeadh. 

A quern is the hetter of being 'picked without heing 

Is fearrde do 'n m-brò a bhreacadh gun a bhriseadh. — Ir. 

Picking the quern consisted in refreshing the roughness of the 
stone, which required to be cautiously done. The use of hand- 


mills was prohibited by the Scottish Parliament as far back as 
1284, but continued privately notwithstanding, and is probably 
not entirely obsolete yet. The above saying is supposed to refer 
to the orders given by the lairds to have all the querns broken. 

Is fheairrcle cù cù a chrochadh. 
A dog is the better of another dog hcing hanged. 
Is fheairrde cù sgaiteach cnàimh a chur 'n a bhial. 
A biting dog is the better of a bone. 

Gwell cariad y ci na'i gas — A docfs friendship is better than his 
hate. — Welsh. 

Is fheairrde ciiideaclid cùis-bhùrd. 

A company is the better of a laughing-stoch. 

Al. culaidh-ghàire. 

Is fheairrde gach cneadh a ceasnachadh. 

A wound is the better of being probed. 

Is fheairrde gach math a mhèudachadh. 
Every good is the better of being increased. 

Is fheairrde h-uile cù a dhion a chinu a dhranndan. 

A dog's snarl defends his head. 

Is fhearr a bhi bochd na 'bhi briagach. 

Better be poor than a liar. 

Is fhearr a bhi cinnteach na 'bhi caillteach. 

Better be sure than lose. 

Is fhearr a bhi cuimhueachadh air a mhath a bha, na 
'bhi 'smaoineachadh air a mhath nach 'eil 's nach bi. 

Better thinking of the good that lias been, than of that 
which is not, and never vjill be. 

A thoroughly Celtic and respectable Conservative sentiment. 

Is fhearr a bhi 'dhith a' chinn na 'bhi dhith an fhasain. 

Better want the head than toant tile fashion. 

Al. Is fhearr dol as an amhaich na dol as an fhasan — Better out 
of neck than out of fashion. 

A very human and especially feminine sentiment. 

Is fhearr a bhi dubh na 'bhi ban ; 

Is fhearr a bhi ban na 'bhi ruadh ; 

Is fhearr a bhi ruadh na 'bhi carrach ; 

Is fhearr a bhi carrach na 'bhi gun cheann. 

Better be black than fair ; 

Better be fair than red ; 


Better he red than scahhy ; 
Better scabbi/ than no head. 

Al. Is fliearr an dubh na 'n donn ; 
'S fhearr an donn na 'm ban ; 
'S fhearr am ban na 'n ruadh ; 
'S fliearr an ruadh na chàrr. 

Better black than hrovni, 
Better brown than fair, 
Better fair than red, 
Better red than scabby. 

Is fhearr a bhi gun cliloinn na clann gun rath. 
Better no children than children without luck. 

Is fhearr a bhi gun mhart na 'bhi gun mhac. 
Better no cow than have no son. 

Is fhearr a bhi leisg gu ceannach, na ruighinn gu 

Better he slow to huy than stiff to pay. 

Is fhearr a bhi sona na 'bhi saothaireach. 
Better be happy (or lucky ) than laborious. 

Is fhearr a bhi sona na crionna. 

Better he happy (or lucky) than wise. 

Both these sentiments are very Celtic ; and yet the -wise Eng- 
lishman, the cautious Lowland Scot, and the astute Italian, say 
the very same thing in the same words — ' 'Tis better to be happy 
than wise' — 'Better be sonsy than soon iij)' ; 'E meglio esser 
fortimato che savio'. So much faith is there in luck, even among 
the wisest people. 

Is fhearr a bhiadhadh na 'ionnsachadh. 
He's better fed than bred. — Scot. 
Fearr a oileamhain na a oideachas. — Ir. 
Mieux nourrit qu' instruit. — Fr. 

Is fhearr a' chlach gharbh air am faighear rud-eigin, na 
'chlach mhin air nach faighear dad idir. 

Better the rough stone which yields something, than the 
smooth stone that yields nothing. 

This, of course, has a moral meaning, but the physical reference 
is to the species of Lichen called respectively Corcur and Crotal, 
which grow on rocks, and were used extensively for dyes in the 
Highlands, the one a shade of crimson, the other a reddish brown. 
See Lightfoot's Flora Scotica, 2nd ed., Vol. II., pp. 812, 818. 


Is fhearr a' chlach na 'hhi gun mliathacliadh. 

Better stones than no manure. 

Instances have been told of stones having been gathered off a 
field so carefully as to do the land more harm than good, and 
even to lead to their being replaced ! 

Is fhearr a tliomlias fo sheachd, na 'mhilleadh uile a 
dh-aon bheachd. 

Better measure short of seven,, than spoil all at once. 

This seems to refer to the measure for a kilt, for which seven 
yards are required for a well-grown man. 

Measure twice, cut once. — Scot. 

Is fhearr àdh na ealain. 
Buck is better than skill. 

Al. Is fhearr an t-àdh na 'mhoch-eirigh — Luck is better than 
early rising. 

See ' Is fhearr a bhi sona' and ' Ealain gun rath'. 

Is fhearr aithreachas fuireach na aithreachas falbh. 

Better reinnt for staying than for going. 

Al. suidhe na aithreachas ruithe— /or sitting than for running. 

Is fhearr altrum ràidhe na altruni bliadhna. 
A quarters nursing is letter than a years. 

Is fhearr am fear foghainteach feargach na 'm mva- 
chealgaire 's e ro chiùin. 

Better the sturdy passionate man, than the smooth-deceiv- 
ing andy very mild. 

Is fhearr an cù a ni miodal rmt, na 'n cù a ghearras tu. 
Better the dog that fawns than the dog that hitcs. 
Better a dog fawn on you than bite you. — Eng. 
Al. Is fliearr an cù a bhogas 'earball na 'n cù a chuireas drainng 
air — Better the dog that ivags his tail than the dog that grins. 

Is fhearr an cù 'dli'fhalbhas na 'n cù 'dh' fhanas. 
Better the dog that goes than the dog that stays. 

Is fhearr an cù a ruitheas na 'n cù a mheathas. 
Better is tM dog that runs than he that gives in. 

Is fliearr an dichioU lag na 'n neart leisg. 
Better the weak diligence than the lazy strength. 

Is fhearr an fhirinn na 'n t-òr. 
Truth is better than gold. 


Is fliearr an giomach na 'bhi gun fhear-tiglie. 

Better a lobster than no husband. 

Al. am portan tuathal — the awkward crab. 

Two women lived together, one of whom stole the other's meal 
ont of her bag. The sufferer then put a live lobster into the bag, 
and the next time the thief put her hand in she was caught. She 
cried out ' Tha'n Donas 'na do phoca ! — The Devil's in your bag' ! 
'Tha,' said the other, "n uair 'tha thus' ann — Yes, ivhen you are 
there.' Hence the origin of this proverb. 

Sease velado, y sease un palo — Let it be a husband, though it be 
but a hedge-stick. — Sjian. 

Is fhearr an rath so far am beil e, na 'n ratli ud far an 
robli e. 

This luck is better where it is, than that where it vjas. 

Is fhearr an rathad fada glan na 'n rathad goirid 


Better the long clean road than the short dirty one. 
« Is fhearr an saoghal ionnsachadh na 'sheachnadh. 
Better teach (or learn) the world than shun it. 
A very wise saying. 

Is fhearr an sneachd na 'bhi gun sian, 'an deigh an 
siol a chur 's an talamh. 

Better snow than no rain-storm, when the seed is in the 

A I. Is fhearr an sneachd na bhi gun uisge 's a' Cheitein. 

Better snow than no rain in May. 

Is fhearr an teine beag a gharas na 'n teine mor a 


Better a little fire to loarm %s than a great one to burn 
us. — Bug., Scot. 

Is fearr teine bheag a ghoras na teine mor a losgas. — Tr. 

Is fhearr an toit na 'ghaoth tuath. 

The smoke is better than the north wind. 

Is fhearr an t-olc a chluinntinn na 'fhaicinn. 

Better hear the evil than see it. 

Per con. 'S fhearr an t-olc fhaicinn na 'chluintinn. 

Is fhearr an t-olc eòlach na 'n t-olc aineolach. 
The knotvn evil is letter than the tmknown. 
Al. Ma tha aon chron 's an eòlach, bidh a dhà dhiag 's an ain- 
eolach — If the known have one fault, the unknown will have twelve. 


Is fearr eòlus an uilc nà an t-olc gan eòlus. — Ir. Share yn oik 
shione dooin na yn oik uagh nhione clooin. — Manx. 

Gwell i dclyn y drwg a wyr na'r drwg nis gwyr. — Welsh. 
And makes ns rather bear those ills we have, 
Than fly to others that we know not of. — Hamlet, III., 1. 

Better the ill ken'd than the guid unken'd.— /S'cof. 

Is fliearr am bonnach beag leis a' bheanuaclid, na 'm 
bonnach mor leis a' mhollaclid. 

The little bannock with a blessing is better than the big 
one with a curse. 

This saying occurs in some of the old Gaelic tales, when a son 
is going from home, and is asked by his mother which he prefers. 
See Dr. M'Leod's Caraid nan Gaidheal, p. 273. 

Al. an t-i;bh beag — the little egg; an leth beag — the little half. 

Is fliearr aon ian 's an làimh, na 'dhà dhiag air iteig, 

A bird in the hand is worth a dozen on wing. 

Fearr dreoilin ann dorn na corr air chairde (free). — Ir. 

Ta ushag ayns laue chammag (cho math) as jees (dithisj sy 
thammag (hush). — Manx. 

Gwell aderyn yn (one bird) y Haw na dau ynllwyn (two in 
wood). — Welsh. 

A bird in the hand is worth two in the wood. — Eng. 

A bird in the hand's worth twa fleein' by. — Scot. 

A thousand cranes in the air are not worth a sparrow in the 
fist. — Arab. 

Mas vale pajaro (s^yarrow) en la mano, que buitre (vulture) 
volando. — Span. 

Beter eene vogel in de hand dan tien in de lucht {shy). — Dutch. 

E meglio un ticello in gabbia che cento fuori. — Ital. 

Is fbearr aon laogh na da chraicionn. 

One calf is better than two shins. 

Is fbearr aon oidbche Mbairt na tri latba Fogliair. 

One night in March is worth three days in Auticrnn. 

For growth. 

Is fbearr aon sine na ceatbramb coirce. 

One teat (of a coiv) is better than a quarter of oats. 

Al. Is fhearr aon sine bà na bolla dhe 'n mhin bhàn — Better one 
'■.eat of a cow than a boll of Lowland meal. 

Would that all lairds and sheep-farmers considered this, who 
iiave crofters on their lands, with children, but no cows to give 
hem milk ! Unhappily, there is less of milk, both of cows, and of 
luman kindness, in some places where once they were not wanting. 

Is fliearr aon taisgeacb na seacbd teagraidb. 

Better one secure than seven to be qathercd. 


Is fliearr aon tigh air a nighe' na dha dhiag air an 

Better one house washed than twelve s^vept. 

Is fhearr aon tòrradh na da chommanacbadli dhiag. 

One funeral is worth twelve communions. 

For drink, esj)ecially — a very suggestive saying. 

Is fhearr bàrr mor, ach foghnaidh bàrr beag. 

A big crop is best, hut a little crop will do. 

Is fhearr beagan stòrais na moran chàirdean. 

Better a little of one's own than many friends. 

Is fhearr bean ghlic na crann 'us fearann. 

Better is a ivise wife than a plough and land. 

Is fhearr bo na bà ; is fhearr duine na daoine. 

A cow is letter than kine ; a man is better than men. 

I.e., a good cow and a good man. 

Is fhearr breid na toll, ach 's ii aisle toll na tilth ag. 

A patch is better than a hole, but a hole is more genteel. 

Is fearr paiste na poll, acht is onoraigh poll na paiste. — Ir. 

Gwelloc'h pensel evit tonll.—Breto7i. 

The sentiment of this is very Celtic, and the Spanish saying is 
similar, 'Hidalgo honrado antes roto que remendado' — A true 
gentleman would prefer his clothes ragged than patched. 

Better a clout than a hole out. — Evg. 

Besser ein Flick als ein Loch. — Germ. 

Al. Piseag air toll, 's e sin an tairbhe ; ach piseag air piseig, 's 
e sin an lùireach — Patch on hole is economy ; patch on patch is 

Patch by patch is good housewifery, but patch upon patch is 
plain beggary. — Eng. Clout upon a hole is guid gentry, cloul 
upon a clout is guid yeomanry, but clout upon a clouted clout is 
downright beggary. — Scot. 

Is fhearr buille na iomradh. 

A blow is better than gossip. 
• The meaning is that corporal punishment is less painful than 
being made a subject of disagreeable remark. 

Is fhearr caitheanih na meirgeadh. 

Better ivear than rust. 

A fine saying. 

Perseverance, dear my lord. 
Keeps honour bright ; to have done is to hang 
Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail 
In monumental mockery. — Troil. and Cress., 111., 3. 


Is fhearr caraid 's a cliùirt na cmn 's an sporan. 

A friend in the court is better than a crovm in theinirse. 

Al. na bo 'am buaile — than a cow in the fold. 

Is feaiT carad 's a g-cuirte na bonn sa sparàn. — Ir. 

Gwell car yn y llys nag aur ar fys. — Welsh. 

A friend at (or in) court is worth a penny in purse.— ^hj/., Scot. 

One of the best illustrations of the want of judicial purity in olden 
times, which gave rise to this maxim, is Lord President Gilmour's 
remark on hearing Cromwell's judges praised for their impartiality 
— 'Deil thank them ! they had neither kith nor kin'. Even in 
1737, the advice given in a law-suit in regard to the management 
of the Bench was as follows : — ' By Lord St. Clair's advice, Mrs. 
Kinloch is to wait on Lady Cairnie to-morrow, to cause her to ask 
the favour of Lady St. Clair to solicit Lady Betty Elphinston and 
Lady Dun'. The ladies last mentioned were the wives of two of 
the judges. Lord St. Clair's exquisite caution, in leaving the 
management of Lady St. Clair to other people, is interesting. See 
Chambers' Dom. Ann., IIL, 29L 

Is fhearr coimhearsnach 'am fagus na bràthair fad o 

Better a neir/hhour at hand than a hrother far away. 

Al. Is fhearr coimhearsnach math 's a' bhaile seo, na caraid 
anns a' bhail' ud thall. Bdt&r a good neighbour in this town than 
a kinsman in yon town. 

Eun amezek mad (math) a zo gwell, 

Evit na e kerent (na caraid) 'à-h&W.— Breton. 

God Nabo er bedre end Broder i anden By. — Dan. 

E meglio un prossimo viciuo che un lontano cugino. — Ital. 

Is fhearr crathadh na cainbe, na crathadh na cirbe. 
The shahing of canvass is better than the shaking of a rag. 
The meaning of this is not apparent. 

Is fhearr cù beò na leomhan marbh. 
Better a living dog than a dead lion. 
This is a translation of Eccles. ix. 4. 

Is fhearr cù liiath na teanga labhar. 
Better a dog swift of foot titan loud of tongue. 
Is fhearr cuid na ciad oidhche, na na h-oidliche mu 

The first night's fare is better than the last night's. 
The first and last night of the winter beef. 

Is fhearr cùl caraide na aghaidh coimhich. 
Better back of friend than face of stranger. 
Gwell gwegil car na gwyneb estron. — Welsh. 


Is fhearr deadli chainnt na h-asail no drocli fliacal 

The good speech of an ass is letter than the lad word of 
a pro2)het. 

This of course refers to Balaam. It is the only Gaelic saying 
in which the ass is mentioned. The animal was unknown in the 
Highlands until modern times. 

Is fhearr deadh earbsa na droch flioighidiun. 
Full trust is better than iinjMticnce. 

Is fhearr deathach an fhraoich na gaoth an reothaidh. 
Better the smoke of heather than the wind of frost. 

Is fhearr deireadh cuirme na toiseach tuasaid. 
Better the end d a feast than the beginning a' a fray. — 

Al. Is fhearr teachd 'an deireadh — Better come at the end, d-c. 
Fearr deire fleidhe 'na tus bruidhne. — Ir. 

Is fhearr deireadh math, na droch thoiseach. 
Better a good end than a lad leginning. 
Macintosh translates this, ' The refuse of the good is preferable 
to the best of the ill'. 

Is fhearr dhiit do chuid fliàgail aig do nàmhaid, na 
dol 'an innibh do charaide. 

Better leave your goods luith an enemy, than go to ex- 
tremes with your friend. 

Lit., than go into the howels of. 

Is fhearr diol-farmaid, na diol-truaighe. 
Better le envied than pitied. — -Eng., Scot. 
Al. Is fhearr ' Fire faire !' na ' Mo thruaighe !' 
Better ^ Hey day!' than 'Alas!' 
There is more wit in this version. 
Is fearr diol tnu na did truaighe. — Ir. 
^dovifcrdai Kpeaaov tariv rj oiKTelpecrdai. — Herod. 
KtiXXta j;à crè ^rjXfvov, napà và a fXeuvv. — Mod. (rr. 
So Fr., Ital., Germ., Dutch, &c. 

Is fhearr dol a laidhe gun suipeir na eirigh ann am 

Better go to led siipperless than rise in debt. — Eng. 

Share goll dy Ihie fegooish (as aogais) shibber, na girree ayns 
Ihiastynys (debt). — Manx. 


Is fhearr do dhuine 'bhreith 'an deadli uair na deadh 

Better he born in good time than a good father. 
One of the questionable sayings on the importance of luck. 

Is fhearr do dhuine 'bhi 'snaim nan sop na 'bhi 'n a 

Better knot straws than sit idle. 

The Scotch saying is the opposite — ' Better be idle than ill 
employed '. 

Is fhearr duine na daoine. 

One man is letter than many men. 

Gwell gwr na gw5'T — f' S fhearr fear nafir). — ^'''elsh. 

Is fhearr e na 'choltas. 

He is better than he looks. 

She's better than she's bonnie. — Scot. 

Is fhearr eirigh moch na suidhe anmoch. 
Better rise early than sit late. 
Is fearr eirigh moch na suidhe mall. — Ir. 
Gae to bed wi' the lamb, and rise wi' the laverock. — Scot. 
One hour's sleep before midnight is worth three hom-s after. — 

Is fhearr eòlas math na droch chàirdeas. 

Good acquaintance is better than bad relationship. 

See ' Theid an t-èolas'. 

Is fhearr 'fhiachainn na 'bhi 's an dùil. 

It's better to try than to hoj^e. 

Very good doctrine. 

Is fhearr freasdal na gàbhadh. 
Better caution than danger. 
Guid watch hinders harm. — Scot. 

Is fhearr froiseachan am bUadhna na sguab air cheann 
an uiridh. 

A shaJcen sheaf this year is better than the standing 
sheaf of last year. 

Al. Is fliearr sguab am bliadhna na adag an uiridh — A sheaf of 
this year is better than a shock (twelve sheaves) of last year. 

Is fhearr fuachd caraide na bias màmhaid. 
Better the coldness of a friciid than the warmth of an 

An excellent saying. 


Is fhearr fiiigheall fanaid na fuiglieall farmaid. 

The remains of ridicule are better than the dregs of envy. 

Is fhearr fuigheall na braide na fuigheaU na sgeige. 
The residue of theft is hctter than that of scorn. 
Macintosh's translation is, 'The thief may have some profit, 
hut the scorner none'. The doctrine is dubious. 

Is fhearr fuigheall na uireasbhuidh. 

Better leavings than want. 

Is fearr fuigheall na bheith air easbhuidh. — Ir. 

Is fhearr fuine thana na 'bhi uile falamh. 
Tliin hieading is hetter than no hrcad. 
Bannocks are better than nae bread.— Scoi. 
Half a loaf is better than no bread. — Eng. 

Is fhearr greim caillich na tarruing laoich. 
An old vjoinan's grip is hetter than a herds indl. 
Al. Is fhearr cuniail caillich na tarruiug tighearua. 
Better to baud than draw. — Scot. 

Is fhearr giith na meidh. 

A word is hetter than a balance. 

This is a 'dubh-fhacal'. The meaning probably is, that the 
voice of a powerful friend is of more value than strict impartiality. 
In hLs first edition, Macintosh gives the word ' mèithe,' and his 
translation is, ' Better speak than lose right'. 

Is fliearr iarunn fhaotainn na airgiod a chall. 
Better find iron than tine siller. — Scot. 
Is fhearr iasg beag na 'bhi gun iasg idir, 
Srna fish is better than nane. — Scot. 

Is fliearr iomall a' phailteis na teis-meadhoin na gainne. 

Better the border of plenty than the centre of ivant. 

A I. na h-airce. 

Is fhearr Ian an dùirn de cheaird na Ian an dùirn de 

A handful of trade is better than a handful of gold. 

A handfu' o' trade is worth a gowpen o' gowd. — Scot. 

A handful of trade is a handful of gold. — Eng. 

This is undoubtedly a borrowed proverb. The trade of the 
smith, or armourer, was the only one the old Highlanders looked 
on with any respect. 

Is fhearr leisgeul salach na 'bhi gun leisgeul idir. 
Better a had excuse than none. — Eng. 


Is flièarr lèum-iocM a's t-Fhogliar na sguab a bharr- 

A halk in Autumn is better than a sheaf the more. 

The ' leum-iochd,' or *bailc,' (Scotch 'bauk,') is a strip of a 
corn-field left fallow. The fear of being left with the last sheaf 
of the harvest, called the ' cailleach,' or ' gobhar bhacach,' always 
led to an exciting competition among the reapers in the last field. 
The reaper who came on a ' leum-iochd' would of course be glad 
to have so much the less to cut. — See App. VI. 

Is fhearr lùbadh na bristeadh. 

Better how than break — J^ng., Scot. 

So Fr., Ital., Span., Port., Germ. 

Is fhearr màthair phocanach na atbair claidheacb. 

A begging mother is better than a sworded father. 

This saying is borrowed from the south. The sworded and 
riding father means a freebooter. 

Better a thigging mither than a riding faither. — Scot. 

Is fearr mathair phùcain na athair seistrigh (ploughing).— Ir. 

The sentiment of this is not so respectable. 

Is fhearr meomhair luchd an tagraidh na cuimhne 
luchd nam fiach. 

The memory of creditors is better than of debtors. 

Is fhearr na 'n t-òr, sgèul ìnnseadh air choir. 

Better than gold is a tale rightly told. 

This applies to the telling of stories, but still more to the telling 
of truth. 

Is fhearr na toimhsean na na tuairmis. 

Measures are better than guesses. 

Measure twice, cut but ance. — Scot. 

Measure thrice what thou buyest, and cut but once. — Eng. 

Is fhearr òirleach de dh-each, na troidh de chapuU. 

An inch of a horse is better than a foot of a mare. 

Is fhearr ònrachd na droch cuideachd. 

Better be alone than in bad comjjany. — Eng. 

Better alane than in ill company. — Scot. 

Besser allein als in schlechter Gesellschaft. — Germ. 

Mas vale solo que mal acompaiiado. — Span. 

Is fhearr peighmn an fhortain, na 'n rosad 'us coig 

The lucky penny is better than misfortune and five 

Hap and a ha'penny is world's gear cneuch. — Scot. 


Is fhearr piseach anmocli na 'bhi gun pliiseach. 
Better late luck than no luck. 
Is fhearr rogha coimhearsnaich na rogha fuine. 
Better choice of neighbour than choice of baking. 

Is fhearr rud fhàgail aig nàmhaid na rud iarraidh air 

Better leave a thing with an enemy than ask of a friend. 

Is fhearr sean-fhiachan na sean-fhalachd. 

Better old debts than old feuds. 

Al. na seana-ghamhlas. 

Is fhearr seoladh na obair throm. 

Directing is better than heavg luork. 

Better dii'ect •vrell than work hard. — Eng. 

Better gnide weel tlian work fair. — Scot. 

Is fhearr sgios chas na sgios meamna. 

Better vjcary foot than iveary spirit. 

Is fhearr sgur na sgàineadh. 

Better cease than burst. 

A facetious addition to this is, ' ach 's e sgàineadh a 's iomrait- 
iche' — hut bursting is more notable. The suj^posed reply, "S fhearr 
sgàineadh na 'm biadh math a mhilleadh,' is merely a translation 
oi" the Saxon saying. Better belly burst than good meat spoil. 

Is fhearr siol caol coirce fhaotuinn a droch fhearann 
na 'bhi falamli. 

Better small oats than nothing, out of bad land. 

This is a characteristic Hebridean saying. Small black oats are 
the chief corn crop. 

Is fhearr sior-obair na sàr-obair. 
Better steady work than severe work. 
Is fhearr sior-ruith na dian-ruith. 
Better steady running than full speed. 
Is fhearr sith a preas na sith a glais. 
Better peace from the vjood than from under lock. 
Bedre at tinge ved Busken end ved Boien — Better make terms 
in the bush than in 2Jrison. — Dan. 

The identity of these sayings is curious. 

Is fhearr sith na circe na 'h-aimhreit. 

Better peace ivith a hen than strife. 

This shows the hand of a hen-pecked philosopher. 


Is fhearr suidlie goirid na seasamh fada. 
Better short sitting than long standing. 
Is fearr suidhe gearr na seasamh fada. — Ir. 
Sliare soie son veg na roie (ruith) son veg. — Manx. 

Is fhearr tàmh na obair a nasgaidh. 
Better rest than work for nothing. 

A Miso-Celt might point to this as illustrative of Celtic laziness, 
l>nt for the Scottish saying, ' Better sit idle than work for nought,' 
and the English one, 'As good to play for nought as work for 

Per con. Is fhearr saothaii- fliaoin na daoine diomhain — Better 
useless work than be idle. 

Is fhearr teicheadh math, na droch fhuireach. 
Better a good retreat than stag to suffer. 
He that fights and runs away, 
May live to fight another day, 
is the common form of what in Hudibras is. 

For those that fly may fight again, 
Wliich he can never do that's slain. 
Older still, however, is the Greek sajnng, quoted in self-defence 
by Demosthenes, when twitted for leaving his shield on the field 
of Cheronoea, Avrjp 6 (pfvyav, Kai ttoXlv jiaxriO-eTM, thus translated 
by Udall (1542), from the Adagia of Erasmus, 

That same man that runnith awaie 
Male again fight another daie. 

Is fhearr tilleadh am meadhon an àtha, na bathadh 

Better turn mid-ford than he droivncd. 

Is fearr pilleadh as làr an atha, na bathadh 's a tuile. — Ir. 

Better wade back mid- water than gang forat and droon.— Scoi. 

Beter ten halve gekeerd (turn halfway) dan ten heele gedwaald 
(he wholly lost). — Dutch. 

Is fhearr tobhairt caillich na geall riglL 
An old loife's gift is better than a king's promise. 
There is a democratic sharpness in this, very uncommon in 
Gaelic sayings. 

Is fhearr treabhadh anmoch na 'bhi gun treabhadh 

Better late 2:)loughÌ7ig than none at all. 

Is fhearr uair de bhean-an-tighe na obair latha ban- 

Better an hour of the mistress than a days work of the 


Is fhearr iinnsa toinisg na pnnncl leom. 

An ounce of sense is better them a ijound of pride. 

An ounce of wisdom is worth a pound of -wdt. — Eng. 

Is fliiach each math breab a leigeadh leis. 

A good horse may he forgiven a kick. 

Is fhurasd am bà a mhealladh, gun a làmh a lomadh. 

Tlie simpleton may he deceived, ivithout being robbed. 

Is fhm-asd a chiir a mach, fear gun an teach aige 

'Tis easy to put out « man, ivhose ou-n the house is not. 

The ejecting of a troublesome visitor may sometimes be a com- 
mendable process, but that is not the whole meaning of this saying. 
It is interpreted, not unreasonably, in the note of A. Campbell, as 
referring to the ejection of poor tenants in the Highlands. The 
ease with which that process has generally been accomplished is 
remarkable, pleasing in one point of view, sad and shameful iii 

Is fhurasd aicheamhail na iDuille nach buailear a thoirt 
a mach. 

It's easy to avenge the blovj that's not struck. 

Is fhurasda buill' an treun-fhir aithneachadh. 

The mighty man's stroke is easily knou-u. 

The fox foimd the wren one day thrashing corn with his twelve 
sons, and wishing to find out the father, made the above flattering 
remark. Whereupon the old wren turned round, and leaning on 
his flail, said, with a smile of gratification, ' Bha latha dha sin — 
That day teas,' adding, with a nod, ' Cha tuig iadsan, na garraich, 
sin — They little hioiv that, these chickens'. What the fox did there- 
upon is painful to contemplate. 

Is fhurasda caisteal gun seisdeadh a ghleidheadh. 

It's easy to keep a castle that's not besieged. 

It is easy to keep a castle that was never assaulted. — Eng. 

This was probably first said to a censorious old maid. 

Is fhurasda clach fhaotuinn gu 'tilgeadh air cù. 

It's easy to find a stone to throw at a dog. 

Facilmente si trova mi bastone per dar ad un cane. — Ital. 

The ancient proverb will be well eflected, A staft' is c|uickly 
found to beat a dog. — Henry VI., P. II., iii., 1. 

Is fhurasd coire fhaotuinn do dh' obair leth-dheanta. 

It's easy to find faidt vAth hcdf-finished work. 

Is fhurasda dol 'an cuid fir, ach 's e 'cliùis f uireacli ann. 
To usurp is easy, to keep is another thing. 


Is fliurasda duine gun nàire 'bheathacbadh. 

A siutmelcss man is easily fed. 

He that has no modesty has all the town for his ow^l. — Eng. 

Is fliurasda fear fhaotainn do nighinn gun athair. 

Ifs easy to get a match for a fatherless rnaicl. 

Is fhurasda fuil a tlioiit a ceann carrach, 'us gal a 
tlioirt a craos cam. 

Ifs easy to draw Mood from a scabby head, and cry 
from a wry mouth. 

A scald head is soon broken. — Eng. 

Is fhurasda fuine 'dheanamh làmh ri min. 

It's easy to hake near meed. 

Is furas fuineadh a chois mine. — Ir. 

It's guid baking beside the meal. — Scot. 

Anhawdd pobi heb flawd — Hard to hake without flour. — Welsh. 

Is fhurasda tein' fhadadh 'an cois craoibhe. 

It's easy to kindle a fire at the foot of a tree. 

Is furas teine a lasadh a chois connaidh. — Ir. 

Is fhusa car a chur 's an teanga na 's an luing mhoir. 

It's easier to turn the tongue than a hig ship. 

This seems meant for an emendation on James iii., 4, 5. 

Is fhusa 'chiad togradh a stamhnadh, na na thig 'n a 
dheigh a thoileachadh. 

It's easier to subdue the first desire than to satisfy its 

A good statement of one of the most important principles of 
Moral Philosophy. 

Is fhusa comhairle thoirt na comhaMe ghabhail. 

'Tis easier to give advice than take it^ 

Do as I say, and not as I do. — Eng. 

Is fhusa da theallach a thogail na teine 'chumail ri 
h-aon diubh. 

It's easier to build tiuo hearths than to keep a fire on one. 

Is fhusa duine 'chumail a muigh, na 'chur a mach 'n 
uair 'thig e 's tigh. 

It's easier to keep a man out than tojntt him out when in. 

Better hand oot than put oot. — Scot. 

Is fhusa sgapadh na tionnal. 

It's easier to scatter than to gcdher. 

Is fusa sgapadh na cruinniughadh. — Ir. 


Is fhusa tearnadh na direadh. 

Ifs easier to go down than to climb. 

Haws dringo na disgyn — Easier to dimh than to descend. — IVelsli. 

The Gaelic saying is true both literally and metaphorically. 
The Welsh saying is true only of climbing in very steep or rocky 

Is fiach air duine na gheallas e. 

A mail's promise is a debt. 

Dyled ar pob ei addaw. — Welsh, 

See 'Am fear a gheallas'. 

Is fiamhach an t-snil a lotar, 

TJie hurt eye is timorous. 

Is follaiseach fuil air cù ban. 

Blood is notieeable on a ivhite dog. 

Is fuar an coimpir' an fhòid, 

TJie turf is a cold companion. 

There is some pathos in this ; and yet the saying may have 
been invented by a bereaved person, on the look out for a new 

Is fuar an innis an earn. 

The cairn is a cold shelter. 

Is fuar an goile nach teòdh deoch. 

It's a cold stomach that drink ivon't warm. 

It's a cauld stamach that naething hets on. — Scot. 

Is fuar comunn an ath-chleamhnais. 

Cold is the society of a second affinity. 

Macintosh's translation gives the meaning, which is not obvious 
— ' Cold is the connection with a first alliance, when a second is 
formed '. 

Is fuar don'-chleamhnas. 
Cold is ill-sorted afinity. 
Is fuar gaoth nan coimheach. 
Cold is the vjind that brings strangers. 
Possibly applied first to the wind that brought Norsemen, 
afterwards to the coming of Southrons. 

Is fuar leaba gun choimh-leapach. 

Cold is the bed loititotd bedfellow. 

Is gann a' ghaoth nach seòladh tu. 

Light would the breeze be that you coiddnt sail in. 

Al. Is fann a ghaoth ris nach, &c. 

Applied to trimmers and time-servers. 


Is geal an airidli air an aran sgalagan a' chliatliaidh. 
Well tvortky of the bread are the farm-servants of the 

Is geal an cùnradh a thig fad as. 

Fair is the bargain that comes from afar. 

Far sought and dear bought 's guid for ladies. — Scot. 

Is geal gach nodha, gii ruig snodhach an fhearna. 

Everything neiv is white, even to the sap of the alder. 

See ' Is odhar'. 

Is geal-làmhacli bean iasgair, 's is geal-fhiaclach bean 

The fisher's wife has luhite hands, the huntci^'s wife ivhite 

This is a Hebridean saying. The meaning is ambiguous. 

Is gearr gach reachd ach riaghailt Dhe. 

Short-lived is all rule hut the ride of God. 

Is giorraid an Gall an ceann a chur dheth. 

The Lowlander is the shorter of losing his head. 

This, no doubt, has been said more than once, with the action 
suited to the word. 

Is glic an duine 'bheir an aire dha fhein. 

ITe is a wise man that takes ceire of himself. 

Is glice an saoghal a thuigsinn na 'dhiteadh. 

Better understand the ivorlcl than condemn it. 

A philosophical and Christian sentiment. 

Is glic duine 'n a earalas. 

Wise is he who keeps a look-out. 

Is glic nach meallar, ach cha ghlic a mheallar trie. 

He is wise ivho is never deceived, he is not loise ivho 
often is. 

See 'Cha mheallar'. 

Is gniomh nàr an guraban. 

Crouching is a shameful thing. 

This would be rendered in Scotch, ' Sitting on one's hunkers'. 
The practice of ' hunkering' at prayer in church, instead of stand- 
ing, has been seriously denouncecl by some of our divines, as a 
shameful thing. 

Is gloinid am bail' an cartadh ud. 

The farm (or town) is the cleaner of that clearing out. 

Said when any nuisance is got rid of. 


Is goiiid an Carghus leosan d' an eudar airgiod a 
dliiol air a' Chàisg. 

Lent is short to them who have money to ;pay at Whit- 

Is gorm na cniiic 'tlia fada uainn. 

Green are the hills that are far from xis. 

Is glas iad na cnoic a bh-fad uainn. — Ir. 

See 'Bidh adhaircean'. 

The word 'gorm' means both blue and green, and the former 
is really the more true description of distant hills. What the 
saving means, however, is that the distant is most admired, and 
green grass A\'as considered the best thing that could be on a hill. 

Is i 'n àiUeantachd maise nam ban. 

Modesty is the beauty of tvomen. 

For this beautiful saying we are indebted to Armstrong (Did.), 
who translated it ' Delicacy is the ornament of females'. The word 
' àilleantachd,' translated by him and M'Leod and Dewar, ' Per- 
sonal beauty, delicacy, bashfulness, modest reserve,' is unaccount- 
ably omitted in the Highl. Soc. Did. ' Maise' means both beauty 
and ornament. The meaning here is not unlike that of St. Peter, 
' the ornament of a meek and quiet sj^irit'. 

Is i 'n Aoine bliagarrach a ni an Sathurna deurach. 

The threatening Friday makes the weeping Saturday. 

Is i 'bliarail a mhill a bhan-tighearna. 

It vxi.s siqiposiag that destroyed the lady. 

The wife of the Laird of Keppoch (1650-80) ventured to cross 
the river Eoy when in full flood. ' Tha barail agam,' she said, 
'nach bath Ruaidh bhochd mise co dhiùbh — / think 'poor Roy 
imn't drown me at any rate. But the merciless river did. 

There is another more amusing account given of the origin of 
this saying, with the variation of 'dùil' for 'barail'. The story 
is that the poor lady allowed some liberty to be taken with her, 
and on being taxed by her husband, replied, ' Bha mis' 'an dùil 
gur sibh fhein a bh' ann' — / thought it icas yourself. 

Is i 'bhonnaid bhiorach a ni 'n gille smiorail. 

27ie cocked bonnet makes the smart lad. 

The truth of this saying has been practically recognised in the 
British Army, and even in some foreign navies, in the adoption of 
the Glengarry bonnet, for midress or dress uniform. 

Is i 'chiad dubhailc dol 'am fiaclian, 's an ath te teann- 
adh ris na briagan. 

Tlie first vice is to get into debt ; the next is to go telling 


Is i 'chneadh fliein a ni gach duine a ghearan 'an 

It!s his oum hurt a man com^olains of first. 

Is socair a chodlas duine air chneadh dhiiine eile — A man 
sleeps sound on another's wound.— Ir. 

Is i 'chuileag bliuidhe bhuachair a 's àirde sranu. 
The yelloio dung-fiy makes the loudest hum. 

Is i 'n deathach a bliios a's tigb a thig a macli. 

It is the smoke that's loithin that comes out. 

Is i an dias a 's truime a 's isle 'chromas a ceann. 

The heaviest ear of corn lends its head loivest. 

Ulster saying in same words. 

The empty stalk holds its head up. — Huncjar. 

Is i 'n fhoighidinu mhath a chlaoidheas an ansbocair. 
Patience overcomes trouble. 

Al. a, bhristeas cridh' an anrath — breaks the heart of distress. 
Patience with poverty is all a poor man's remedy. — Scot. 

Is i 'ghaoth tuath a ruaigeas an ceo. 
It's the north wind that drives away 7nist. 

Is i 'n lamb shalacb a dh'fhàgas a' gbualainn glan. 
The dirty hand makes the clean shoulder. 
Al. a ni a' mhuilichean ghlann — makes the clean sleeve. 
Ni buttra llaw dyn er gwneuthur da iddio ei hun — No man's 
hand is dirtied with his oicn business. — Welsh. 
Dirty hands make clean money. — Eng. 

Is i 'mbàthair bbrisg a ni 'n nigbean leisg. 

The active mother makes the lazy daughter. 

Al. Is minig a thainig nighean leisg o mhàthair èasgaidh. 

Is olc a bhean tigh inghean na caillighe èasgaidh. — Ir. 

A light-heeled mother makes a heavy-heeled daughter. — Eng. 

An olight niither maks a sweir dochter.— <ScoL 

]\Iadre ardida hace hija tullida. — Sfan. 

]\Iai agU50sa, filha perguÌ50sa. — Port. 

Per con. Is i 'nighean èasgaidh a ni 'mhàthair leisg. 

The active daughter makes the lazy mother. 

Al. Is minig a thainig nighean èasgaidh o mhàthair leisg. 

Is i 'mbuc sbàmbacb a db'itbeas an drabb. 
It's the silent soio that eats the draff. 
Yr hwch a daw a fwyty'r soeg. — Welsh. 
Still swine eat all the draff. — Eng. 

De lumske Sviin a;de Masken — The cunning swine eat the mash. 

Is i 'n Xollaig dliubli a dli'fhàgas an cladli miatli. 
A black Christmas makes a fat churcliijard. 
A green Yule maks a fat kirkyard.— Sco^. 
Eu gron Juul giver en fed Kirkegaard. — Dan. 
A green winter makes a fat churchyard. — Eng. 

Is i 'n oidhche 'n oidhche, na'm b'iad ua fir na fir ! 

The night is the night, were the men the men ! 
A watch- word in view of a foray. 

Is i an taois bhog a ni am mas rag. 
The soft dough makes the stiff buttock. 
Raw dads make fat lads.— Scof. 

Is i 'blio fhein a's luaitbe a mhothaicbeas d' a laogh. 
The cow is the first to notice her own calf. 

Is i nàmbaid duine a' cheaird uacli cleachd e. 
TJie trade vjhich he practises not is a man's enemy. 
Is namhaid an cheird gan a foghluim (unless learned). — Ir. 

Is iad na h-eòin acrach a's fhearr a ghleacas. 
The hungry birds fight best. 

Is ioma bo fhada reambar, nach deachaidh riamb air 

Many a long fat cow loas never tethered. 
Applied to women who never iwdwy.— Macintosh. 

Is ioma caocbla 'tbig air an t-saogbal fo cbeann 

Many changes come over the world in a year. 

Is ioma car a' tba 'n saogbal a' cur dhetb. 
Many a turn the tvorld takes. 

Gur mairg a bheir geill 

Do 'n t-saoghal gu leir, 

'S trie a cliaochail e 'cheuni gàbhaidh. — Mary MacLeod. 

Is ioma car a tbig air an oidbcb' fbad Fbogbair, 
Many a turn comes in the long Autumn night. 
Is iomad taod (change) a thig ann a la Earraigh (Spring). — Ir. 
Hverb er Haust-grima — Unstable is the Autumn night. — Iceland. 

Is ioma mùtbadb a tbig air an oidbcbe fbada Gbeamb- 

Many a change comes in the long Winter night. 

This is said to have been uttered as a warning to his host by 
one of the murderers of Glencoe. 

Is ioma ceann a theid 'an currag mu'n tachair sin. 

Many a head will go into a cay hefore that hajjpens. 

The cap meant is the ' currag-bàis,' the Jeath-cap. 

Is ioma crou a bhios air duine bochd. 

The poor man loill have manif faults. 

Is iomad cron a chithear air a duine bocht— Jr. 

Is ioma cron a bhios air leanamh gun mhàthair. 

Tlie motherless child will have many faidts. 

Is ioma deadh gbniomh a dheanteadli mur b' e a 

Many a good deed woidd he done tut for miscarriage. 

Is ioma dòigli a th' air cii a mharbhadh, gun a tliach- 
dadh le im. 

There are many ivays of hilling a dog, 'without cltoking 
him with hutter. 

Is ioma dragh a thig air aois. 

Many troidjles come on age. 

Is ioma fàtli a th' aig an Earrach air a bhi fuar. 

Spring has many reasons for Icing cold. 

Another version, with the merit of assonance is, 'S ioma leisgenl, 
fada, salach, 'th' aig an Earrach gu 'bhi fuar — Many a weary, foul 
excuse Sprinc/ has, &c. 

Is anamli Earrach gan fuacht. — Ir. 

Is ioma fear a chaidh a dholaidh, le deadh chùnradh 
a cheannach. 

Many one has hccn ruined hj getting a good hargain. 

Is ioma fear a chaidh do 'n choille air son bata dh' a 
dhruim fhein. 

Many a man has gone to the wood for a stick to heed 

Is ioma fear a chuir gàradh mu lios, nach d'tliug a 
thoradh as. 

Manif a man has ivcdlcd a garden, u'ho never tasted of 
its fruit. 

Is ioma fear a ghoid caora, nach deachadh leatha air 
taod do Steòrnabhaigh. 

Many a one has stolen a sheep, thcd didiit lead her in 
to Stornovxiy. 

It is liardly necessary to sav that this is a Lewis proverb. 


Is ioma fear a tha gle mlior as a shlabhraidh, ged is e 
niaide-crom a bh' aig a sheanair. 

Many a one is proud of his 'pot-hanger , though his 
grandfather had hut a crook. 

The slabhraidh is an iron chain suspended over the fire-phice, 
with a hook at the end, on whicli pots are hung for cooking. The 
maide-crom (al. cròcanj was simply a wooden crook. 

Is ioma leannan a th' aig an aois. 
Old age has mang followers. 

Al. Is ioma ni "tha leanmhuinn na h-aois — Many things follow 
age. See ' Thig gach olc ', 

Is ioma long cho briste 'tliainig gu tir. 
Many a ship as broken has come to land. 
Is ioma mir a thug thu do 'n bhial a mliol tliii. 
Many a morsel you have put in the mouth that praised 

Is ioma ni a chailleas fear na h-imrich. 
Many a thing is lost injiitting. 
Three removes are as bad as a fire. — Eng., Fr., Germ. 
Cha bliiann imirce gan chaill. — Ir. 

Is ioma ni 'thig air an laogh nach do shaoil a mhathair. 
il/ore things befall the calf than his dam dreamed of. 

Is ioma rud a dh'fheumas an euslaint nach fheum an 

Sickness needs many things ivhich health requires not. 
Is ioma rud 'tha 'm bùth a' cheannaiche nach leis 

Much is in the merchant's shop ivhich is not his own. 
Is ioma rud a tha 'n cuan a falach. 
The ocean hides much. 

Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl, 
Inestimable stones, imvalued jewels, 

All scattered in the bottom of the sea. — Richard III., I., 4. 
Earth shall reclaim her precious things from thee ! 

Eestore the dead, thou sea ! — Mrs. Hemans. 
Is ioma rud a th' eadar creathall agus uaigh. 
Much lies between cradle and grave. 
Is ioma rud a tha e cur fo 'earball. 
Many are the things he puts under his tail. 
Said of shifty people. 


Is ioma rud a thachras ris an fhear a bhios a muigh. 

Many things happen to him who goes abroad. 

Is ioma te 'bhios cearbach aig a' bhaile, 'theid gu 
riomhach tbim na feille. 

Many a homc-dovxly goes gay to the fair. 

Is ioma te 'chuir càl 'n a dhiosg. 

Many a she has put kail into his dish. 

Is ioma teine beag a bheothaichear. 

Many a small fire is kindled. 

Is ioma teine mor a chaidh as. 

Many a great fire has gone out. 

Is ioma tonn a th' eadar thu 's tir. 

There is many a ivave betiveen thee and land. 

Is ioma tonn a thig air a' chladach mu'n tachair sin. 

Many a wave will come on the shore ere that happens. 

Is iomadh urchair 'tha 'dol 's an fhraoch. 

Many a shot goes into the heather. 

Donald can tell many a tale of Messrs Briggs & Co. 

Is iongantach cho gearr 's a tha thu, 's uach bu bhàrd 
a b' athair dhut. 

It's wonderfid how curt yon are, not being a poet's son. 

Is ionmhuinn leis gach neach a choltas. 

Everyone likes his like. 

Adar o'r unlliw a hedant i'r unlle — Birds of one colour fiy 
together. Pob byw wrth ei ryw yr aeth — Every living joins its 
kind. — Welsh. 

See 'Drnididh gach ian'. 

Is ionann aithreachas-criche 's a bhi 'cur sil mu Flieill- 

Death-bed repentance is soioing seed, at Martinmas. 

Is ionann deoch nimhe 's balgum. 

A mouthful of poison is as good as a dravgld. 

Is ionann duine na 'eigin 'us duine air a' chuthach. 

A needy man is even as a madman. 

See ' B' fhearr suidlie'. 

Is ionnan tosd 'us aideachadh. 

Silence is consent. 

Aidiglieann a tosdach. — Ir. 

Silence is often an answer. — Arah. 


'AvtÒ Sè TO (Tiyav òfiokoyovvTos Ì(ttl aov. — Eurip. 

Qui tacet consentire videtur. — Lat. Law Maxim. Chi tace 
acconsente. — Ital. Quien calla oioY^^à.— Span. Wer schweigt 
Vjejalit. — Germ. Silence gives consent. — E^iij. 

Is labhar na builg fhàs. 

Noisy are the emfty hags. 

Macintosh's translation is, ' Loud is the bouncing of the blown- 
np bladder,' which is tree but felicitous. The bag, to make a 
noise, must have been made of skin of some sort. 

Is lag greim fear an neo-shùnnt. 
Weak is the grasp of the downcast. 
Is lag gualainu gun bhràthair, 'an am do na fir teaclid 
'an làthair. 

Weak is shoulder without brother, 
When men are meeting one another. 
Berr er hverr a baki, nema ser broSur eigi — Bare is one's hack, 
unless he have a brother. — Iceland. (Saga of Burnt Njal.) 
See 'Clanna nan Gàidheal,' and 'Is maol'. 
Is làidir a theid, is anfhann a thig. 
Strong they go, and weak return. 
All that was left of them, 
Left of six hundred ! — Tennyson. 

Is làidir ògiach deadh thighearna. 

A good masters servant is .sfron//. 

Al. Is math gille deadh tlii-litain.i. 

Corn him weel, he'll work the Ik-Uit. — Scot. 

Is làidir tathunn coin 's a shàth 'n a bhroinn. 

A dog harks loud loith his helly full. 

Is le duine an greim a shluigeao e, acli clia leis on 
greim a chagnas e. 

What one swallows is his oion, hit not ivhat he is 

This is going further even than the ' 'Twixt cup and lip' saying. 

Is leam fhein an gleann, 's gach ni 'ta ann. 

The glen is mine, and all that's in it. 

These words have given its name to one of our favourite 
pibrochs, certain to be heard at any Highland gathering. The 
saying seems to be a curious parody on the well-known verse. 
The earth Vjelongs unto the Lord, 
And all that it contains. 

Is leigli fear an ath-chneidh. 

A man is surgeon for his second wound. 


Is leiqlieas air gach tinn 

Cneamli 'us ini a' Mhàigli ; 

01 'ail fhocliair sid 

Bainne-gliobliar ban. 

Gaiiick with May butter 

Cureth all disease ; 

Drinh of goats ivJiite milk 

At same time icith these. 
The garlick here mentioned is the wild kind, commonly called 
' ramsons ' in England, which is found in most parts of Scotland. 
Its medicinal virtvies are well known ; but, like many other plants, 
once valued and used by our Highland ancestors, it is now quite 
superseded by pills and doses prepared by licensed practitioners. 
May butter is always the finest, the pastures tlien being in their 
most delicate and fresh condition. Goats' milk also has always 
been supposed to have some special virtues. Goat-milk whey is 
now run after in some parts of Switzerland as a specific cure for 
certain affections of the chest. 

Is leis a' Gliobha fuiglieall eibhle ; 
Is leis an Leigh salach a làmh ; 
Is leis a' Bhàrd a theanga fhein ; 
Is leis an t-Saor a shliseag bliàn. 
To the Smith helong the emlers; 
To the Leech soiled hands ; 
To the Bard belongs his tongue ; 
To the Carpenter white chips. 

Is leis a' mlièiiieach mliatli na clieileas e, acli clia leis 
na glioideas e. 

What the clever thief conceals is his, but not all he steals. 

Is leis an fhitheach a's moiche 'dli'eireas sùil a' bheotli- 
aich aims an t'heith. 

The raven that rises first vjill get the eye of the beast in 
the bog. 

See 'Am fitheach'. This version is more rhythmical. It is no* 
.so pleasant as the ' early bird ' proverb, but it is more forcible. 

Is leisg an lànih gun treabliadli. 
Lazy is the hand that ploughs not. 

Is leisg an ni ' Is èudar'. 

' Mìist ' is a lazy thing. 

Muss ist ein liarte Nuss — Must is a hard nut. — Germ. 


Is leisg le leisgein dol a laidlie, 's is seaclid leisge leis 

Loath is tJbc lazy to go to bed, seven times loatJicr to 7'ise. 
Leisge liiidhe, agus leisge ag eirigh, sin mallachd Choluim- 
cliille. — Ir. 

Litcheragh goU dy lliie, litclieragli dy irree, as litcheragli dy 
gholl dys J cheeill Jedoonee. — Man.r. 

Ever sick of the slothful guise, 
Loth to bed and loth to rise. — Eng. 

Is leòir luathas na h-earba gun na coin a chur rithe. 

The roe is swift enough without setting the dogs at her. 

See 'Cha deic'. 

Is leir do 'n daU a bhial, ge cam a sliiiil. 

The blind can see his mouth, thotigh blind his eye. 

Is lionmhor bàirnich mna gun òrd. 

The hammer-less woman sees many limpets. 

Is lionmlior bean-blileoghainn, ach is tearc banacliaig. 

Milking-women are iilentifid, but dairy-maids are rare. 

The milking of cows is a small matter, compared with the 
making of butter and cheese, and the whole management of a 
dairy, which requires brains as well as hands. 

Is lorn an cladach air an cùnntar na faochagan. 
'Tis a bare beaeh inhere the ivilks can be counted. 
See ' Is cruaidh an t-Earrach '. 

Is 16m an leac air nach criom e. 
Ifs a bare stone from ichich he can picTc nothing. 
Al. air nach buaineadh tu bàirneach — on which you wouldnH 
get a limpet. 

In other words, he is a skinflint. 

Is 16m an t-sùil gun an rosg. 
Bare is the eye without eyelash. 
Is 16m teanga na meidh. 
The tongue of the balance is bare. 

Mjott er mundangs YLofit— Narrow is tlie mean of the balance. 
— led. 

Is luaitlie deoch na sgeul. 

Quicker is drink than story. 

Al. Is giorra deoch, &c. Shorter is drink 

'S girrey jough na skeeal. — Manx. 

Is tuisce deoch na sgeal. Drink before story. — Ir. 

A drink is shorter than a tale. — Scot. 


This saying appears to be of purely Gaelic origin, thoiigh it 
found its way into the Lowlands, and from thence was duly trans- 
lated into English. The very word 'tale,' in the Scottish and 
English version, shows it to be a translation, and does not fully 
represent its meaning, which includes news and information of any 
kind. Thei'e is no saying more characteristic of Highland ideas 
of hospitality, of which one of the first laws is to offer a drink of 
some kind, the best in the house, whatever it be, to a visitor. Mr. 
Hislop with all his sagacity and knowledge of Proverbs, seems to 
have misunderstood this one. He calls it 'an excuse for drinking 
during the telling of a story'. I have heard the saying hundreds 
of times in the Highlands, but never once in that sense. The 
proverb first appeared in print, so far as I can trace, in Allan 
Ramsay's collection of Scottish Proverbs, 1736. That was long 
before Macintosh's collection of Gaelic ones, but it does not follow 
that it was not a translation from the Gaelic. It first appears, so 
far as I know, as an English proverb, in Mr. Hazlitt's valuable 
compilation (1869), along with a large number not only of Scottish, 
but even of Latin, proverbs, which Mr. H. thinks it proper to call 
"English Proverbs". Being of opinion, apparently, that no good 
thing can grow in Scotland, Mr. H. ventures to say that " the 
Scots appear to have as few proverbs of their own as they have 
ballads," a statement which sufficiently shows that his knowledge 
is not quite ecjual to his pretensions. 

Canon Bourke says {Ir. Gr., 289) this proverb is "suggested 
by the ancient practice of giving story tellers a drink before they 
began to rehearse their tales ". 

Is luaithe feum na side ; faodaidh a' chaora, &c. 

Weed is quicker than weather : the sheep may die, &c. 

See 'Faodaidh a' chaora'. A worthy Lochaber man had a flock 
of goats, which he went to look after one day in Spring, after a 
very severe Winter. He found them lying here and tliere, dead 
or dying. ' Thig side mhath fhathasd,' said he, ' U thig ! ach an 
Diabhol mir dhibhse 'chi e ! — Good weather will come yet, O 
yes ! but Devil a bit of you will see it ! ' 

Is luaithe gniomh na tuarasdaL 

Work is before wages. 
See 'Cha d' fhuair duine'. 

Is litaithe ròn na rionnach, is luaithe giuraach na ròn. 

Seal is swifter than mackerel, lobster sicifter than seed. 

Al. Sitheadh giumaich, sitheadli rionnaich, sitheadh ruin, na 
tri sithean a 's luaithe 's a' chuan mhor — Rush of lobster, <hc., the 
three swiftest in the great ocean. The swiftness with which the 
lobster propels himself by his powerful tail is not generally 
known ; as a Scottish proverb shows, ' Ye look like a rinner, quo' 
the Deil to the labster '. 


Is luaitliid a' chas a bristeadh, mar a thuirt am fear a 
chunnaic gas rainich a' falbh leis a' ghaoith. 

The leg that breaks is all the quicJcer, as the man said 
who saw a stalk of bracken going before the v.nnd. 

There is sometliing comical in this, though trivial. 

Is luath agus mall comhairle an duine. 

Swift and sloiv is man's counsel. 

This way and that dividing the swòft mind. — Tennyson. 

Is luath an ton 's an teid an t-eagal. 

He is sicift on whom fear comes. 

Is luath fear doimeig air fàire, latha fuar Earraich. 

Sicift goes the slatterns husband over the brae, on a cold 
Spring day. 

See ' Aithnichear fear doimeig'. 

Is lugha na fride màthair a' chonnsachaidh. 

Tiie mother of dissension is smaller than ct mite. 

The mother of miscliief is no bigger than a midge's wing. — Eng. 

Is luibh-chridlie learn f hein e. It is to myself. 

Is maireann gus an crion. Lasting till it wither. 

Is mairg a bheireadh as a' clilachan thu ! 

Pity him wlio would bring you back from the church ! 

Said of ineligible yoi;ng women — a saying belonging to the 
time when Highland marriages were performed in church. 

Is mairg a bhiodh a' biathadh nan each agus gun 
phris orra. 

Pity him v:ho toould keep v.p horses when there is no 
price for them. 

Is mairgabhiodh a'breith dhaoine,'s na h-eich chogann ! 

Pity them icho ivould bring forth men, when horses are 
so scarce ! 

That is, useless men. 

Is mairg a bhiodh 'n a clirann air dorus duin' eile. 

Pity him ivho is a bar on another s door. 

The ' crann' is a wooden bar fastened across the door wlien the 
inmates go out — the ordinary way of closing a Highland cottage. 
A person who helps to keep other people's doors closed as well as 
his own, is not to be euAied. 

Is mairg a chailleadh a's t-Earrach e. 

Pity liim v:lio would lose him in Spring. 

Said of a good workman or horse. 


Is mairg a chaillear 's an an-iiair ! 

Alas for him who is lost in the storm ! 

Is mairg a cliitheadh adhaircean fad' air a' chrodh 

Pity him who would see long Jiorns on the hvttinf] covj. 

Al. Is math nach 'eil adhaircean fad' air na bà luinneanach — 
Ifs well that the frisky cotes haven't long horns. 

The puttin' coo should be aye a doddy (hornless). — Song by Sir 
A. Bosrvell. 

Is m lirg a chuireadli a làmli gun aobhar 'am bial a' 

Piti/ him v:ho would put his hand ivithout cause into a 
dogs mouth. 

Is mairg a chuireadh 'an toiseach na luing' thu. 
Pity him ivho would put you in the shijfs hoio. 
As pilot, or look-out man. 

Is mairg a chuireadh an ùir air sùil a charaide. 
Pity him 'Loho vwuld put the earth on the eye of his 

Who would do him to death. 

Is mairg a chuireadh 'uile dhòigh 'an aon duine 'chaidh 
'n deò 'n a chre. 

Woe to him that puts all his trust in any mortal sprung 
from dust. 

Is mairg a chuireas a chuid far nach urrainn da a 
toirt as. 

Pity him who puts his means where he cannot get it out. 

Is mairg a chuireas air chùl a dhaoine fhein. 
Pity him ivho turns his back on his oivn people. 

Is mairg a chuireas farran air fann. 
Woe to him who vexes the weak. 

Is mairg a dh' àraicheadh a laogh gu moilleach, 's an 
galar guineach 'n a dheigh. 

Pity him ivho would pamper his calf, and sharp disease 

Applied to spoiled children. 

Is mairg a dlieanadh bàthaich dhe 'hhroinn. 
Pity him that makes a hyre of his helly. 


Is mairg a dheanadh subhachas ri dnbhaclias fir eile. 

Woe to him that would rejoice at aaotJier's grief. 

Is mairg a dh' earbadh an oidhche fhad' Fhogbair ris. 

Pity him that would trust the long Autumn night 
to him. 

This was said, no doubt, of a notorious reaver or thief. 

Is mairg a ghuidlieadh làrach 16m. 

Woe to him ivho would wish a ruined home to any one. 

Is mairg a loisgeadh a thigh roimh 'n chreich. 

Pity him who vjould hum his house lefore the sack. 

Is mairg a loisgeadh a thiompan dut ! 

Pity him who tvould hum his harp for you ! 

This alludes to the story of a Hebridean harper, who having 
nothing else to make a fire with to warm his wife, broke his harp 
in pieces and burned it. His wife's heart, it seems, was colder 
than her body, as she ran away with another man before morning! 
This story forms the subject of one of Hector McNeill's poems. 

The word 'tiompan,' tympanum, is used in the Scottish and 
Irish Gaelic Bible as the translation of timljrel, but the Dictionaries 
give it as a term for 'any musical instrument'. 

Is mairg a ni de 'n olc na dh' fhaodas e. 
JVoe to him that docs as much ill as he can. 

Is mairg a ni droch chleachdadh. 
Woe to him who makes a had halit. 

Is mairg a ni tarciiis air a bhiadh. 

Pity him that desinses his food. 

Is mairg a rachadh air a bhannaig, 'us a tlieann-shath 
aige fhein. 

'Twcre pitiful to go hegging hannocks, with 'plenty of 
ones own. 

The bannock here referred to is the * Bannag-Challuinn ' or 
New- Year cake, called in Brittany 'Calanna,' or 'Calannat,' in 
"Wales ' Calenig,' given as a New-Year gift to those who came on 
New-Year's night, chanting certain rhymes. The Highland and 
Breton customs in this matter are very similar. 

Is mairg a's màthair do mhicein maoth, an uair a's e 
Dirdaoin a' Bhealltainn. 

Alns for tender infant's mother, when Beltane f cells on 

This is one of the superstitious fancies of which no explanation 
can be given. 


Is mairg a sliineadh làmh iia h-airce do chridlie na circe. 
Pity him thai stretches the needij hand to the hen- 

Is mairg a thachair dh' an tir thalmlianta, far nacli 
sniomh cailbh' cuigeal. 

Pity the one vjho comes to the land where a ixtrtition 
uont spin a distaff. 

This absurd sajaiig was uttered by a half-witted young woman, 
who had a good and too kind mother. The young woman was 
fond of going out ' air cheilidh,' to make long calls, and she would 
leave her distaff with its wool on it resting against the partition- 
wall, that divided the ' but ' and ' ben '. Her worthy mother 
would take it herself, spin the wool, and leave the distaff where 
her daughter left it ; and the foolish creature believed that the 
spinning was done for her by some supernatural means. At 
length her mother died, and the poor girl went for some time to 
friends at a distance, where she tried the old trick with her distaff, 
and, to her disappointment, found it on her return just as she left 
it. Then she made the above remarkable observation. It is 
applied to lazy or silly people, who expect to have their work 
dune for them. 

Is mairg a theid do 'n tràigli an uair a tlia h-eòin fliL-in 
'g a treigsinn. 

Pity him u'ho goes to the shore^ ichen its oivn birds are 
forsaking it. 

Who goes in search of shellfish. 

A I. Is mairg a thaghladh a chreag, 's a h-eòin flièin 'g a fàgail 
— Pihj him who visits the rock which its oivn birds are leaving. 

Is mairg a thrèigeadh a chaomh charaid. 

Woe to him that would forsake his dear friend. 

Is mairg a threigeadh a leannan buan, air son fear- 
fuadain na h-aon oidhche. 

Woe to her who would forsake her constant love, for the 
stranger of one night. 

Is mairg aig am bi iad : 's mairg aig nach bi iad. 

Pity those tolto have them ; pity those who Itaven't them. 

Al. Is truagh aig am beil iad ; 's truaighe aig nach 'eU iad — 
Pity those v:ho have them; pity more those who haven't. 

This refers to children, and reminds of the advice about mar- 
riage, ' You'll repent if you marry, and you'll repent if you don't !' 
The Lowland Scottish saying, though kindly, is rather too frugal — 
"Waly, waly 1 bairns are bonnie ; 
Ane's eneuch, and twa's ower mony. 


Is mairg aig am bi 'n tighearna fann ; 
Is mairg aig am bi claim gun rath ; 
Is mairg aig am bi 'm bothan gaiin ; 
Ach 's miosa 'bhi gun olc no 'mliath. 
'Tis ill to have a jnthless lord ; 
To have children unthout hick ; 
III to dwell in hothy 2^oor ; 
But ivorst is, neither ill nor good. 
The Irish version of this (Bourke's Ir. Gramm., 288) is almost 
identical, the only difference being in the last words of the first 
line, where, strange to say, the Scottish Celt is more outspoken 
about lairds — 

Is mairg a m-bidheann a chairde gann ; 
Is mairg a m-bidheann 'chlann gun raith ; 
Is mairg a m-bidheann bothan gann ; 
Is mairg a bhidheas gan olc no maith. 

Is mairg air an tig na dh'fliuilingeas. 

Fity him on whom comes cdl that he can suffer. 

Is mairg air nach bi eagal na breige. 

Woe to him that fears not to lie. 

Is mairg do 'm bial-iochd sùil a' clioimlncb. 

Pity him who is an object of pity to the stranger. 

Is mairg do 'n cuid cuid duin' eile. 
' Pity him whose goods belong to another man. 

Al. Is mairg do 'm faodail, &c. The meaning is that it is ill 
for him who has nothing but what he picks up of another man's 

Is mairg do 'n dual am poll itheadh. 
Pity him whose birthright is to eat dirt. 
This is a forcible way of expressing the disadvantage of being 
boi'n of bad blood. 

Is mairg do 'n dùthchas drocb gbalar. 

Sad is the inheritance of a bad disease. 

Is mairg do 'n sguaban-stòtliaidh bo mliaol odhar 

Pity him whose resource is MaeGillonys hornless dun 

Macintosh says that MacGillony was a famous hunter in the 
Grampians, and that several vestiges of his temporary huts are 
still to be seen (1785) in the mountains of Atholl. His dun cow 
was the wild mountain doe. The text of this proverb in Macin- 


tosh is puzzling and unintelligible. 'Is mairg g'a 'n scuab bun 
staghail bo miiaol odliar Mhicalonabliaidh,' translated, 'Woe to 
him whose main support is the white cow of Macgilony'. The 
word ' staghail ' is unknown, and the assonance required a word 
in which ' o ' is the first vowel, which ' stùthaitlh ' supplies. 
'Stòthadh' means the cutting of corn short, as would be done 
for a hasty supply. The ]\ÌacGillonies belonged to the Clan 
Cameron, but originally, as the name implies, were allied to the 
MacLeans. See Gregory's Hist, of the IF. Islands, p. 77. 

Is mairg 'g am bi cairdean faim. 

Fifij him loho has ivcah friends. 

Is mairg 'g am bi comhaltas gann, 'us clann gun rath. 

Pity him ivho has feio foster-friends, and luckless chil- 

Is mairg nacb beathaich a thruaghan. 

Woe to him ivho tvon't riiaintain his oivn poor creature. 

This good old sentiment sometimes receives sad illustration in 
our Courts, in Poor Law and Filiation cases. 

Is mall a mharcaicheas am fear a bheachdaicheas. 

He rides slowly vjho observes. 

Is mall adhart na leisge. Slow is thej^rogress of the lazy. 

Is mall ceum nan dall. 

Slow is the step of the hlind. 

Is maol guala gun bhràthair ; is 16m an làracli gun 

Bare is shoulder without brother; bare is home without 

See ' Is lòm'. 

Is marbh fear na h-eisimeileach. 

Dead is the dependent. 

Is math a bliean-tighe 'blieir a nuas an rud nacli 'eil 

She's a clever housewife that can briny down ivhat's not 

Al. a l:)raigh an tighe rud nach bidh ann — from the inner 
room what's not there. 

Is math a bhiodh na cait, gus an d' thugadli na luch- 
ain na cluasan dhiubh. 

The cats icould do well, till the mice would take their 
ears off. 

This saying must have been invented by a man of the world. 


Is math a' chobhair e, ach 's bochd an sabhal e. 
It's a good assistance, but a bad barn. 
Stdd of such occupations as fishing, hunting, &c. 

Is math a' chùirt 's am faighear rud ri' iarraidh. 

It's a good court where a thing can be got for the ashing. 

Is math a dh' fhimireadh an dan a dheanamh, 's a 
huthad fear-millidh a th' aige. 

The lioe.m would need to be well made, since it has so 
many spoilers. 

Bad reciters and carping critics. 

Is math a dh' fhoghnas fir odhar do mhnathan riabhach. 
Sallow lads suit swarthy lasses. 
Fùiridh fear odhar do bhean riabhach. — Ir. 

Is math a ghabh e tomhas mo choise. 
iVell did he take the measure of my foot. 
I have got the length of liis foot, — Eng. 

Is math a' margadh a riaraicheas an ceannaiche. 
It's a good market that satisfies the merchant. 

Is math am bathar a chòrdas ris a' cheannaiche. 
The goods are good that please the merchant. 

Is math a' mhàthair-cheile am fòid. 
The sod is a good rnother-in-laiv. 
A green turf is a guid guid-mither. — Scot. 
Die beste Scliwieger, auf der die Ganse weiden — Tiu best mother- 
in-law, on whom the geese pasture. — Germ. 

Is math a' modh a bhi sàmhach. 
It's good manners to be silent. 

Is math am baile 's am faighear biadh ri iarraidh. 
It a good toivn (or farm) tvhere food can be got for the 

Is math am buachail an oidhche ; bheir i dhachaidh 
gach beothach 'us duine. 

Night is a good herdman: she brings all creatures home. 

Al. gleidhidh i crodh 'us caoraich 'us cearcan — she keeps cattle 
and sheep and hens. 

The e'ening brings a' hame. — Scot. 

This is a pretty and poetical saying ; the Scottish version has 
perhaps a deeper meaning. 

Is math an cearcall-mais deadh bliean-tighe. 
A good houseivife is a good under-Jioojo. 
The lowest hoop on a cask is the most important of any. So 
long as it holds, the vessel will hold something. 

Is math an cluich a lionas a' bhrii. 
It's good sjwrt that fills the lelly. 
Al. an fheala-dhà — an spùirt. 

Is math an còcair' an t-acras. 
Hunger is a good cooh. 
]\Iaith an t-anlan an t-ocrus. — Ir. 

Fames est optimus coquns. — Lat. Optimum cibi condimentum 
fames, sitis, potus. — Cic. Buon appetito non vuol salsa. — It. II n' 
y a sauce que d' aT)pètit.— Fr. 

Hunger ist der beste Koch. — Germ. Hunger er det bedste 
Suul. — Dan. Honger is de beste r^aiis. — Dutch. Hunger is the 
best sauce. — Eng. Hunger's guid kitchen. — Scot. 

Alexander Stewart, Earl of ]\Iar, son of Robert III., after being 
defeated at Inverlochy (1431) by Donald Balloch, suffered great 
h;irdships, wandering through Lochaber. One day in Glen Roy 
he met a poor woman, and asked her for some food. ' I have 
nothing,' she said, ' but a handful of barley meal, to which you 
are welcome.' The Earl took it thankfully, and sitting down by 
the side of a burn, Allt Acha-na-beithich, took off one of his shoes, 
and mixed the meal in it with water from the stream. Thereupon 
he is said to have made this verse, — 

Is math an còcair an t-acras, 
'S niairg a ni tarcuis air biadh, 
Fuarag eòrn' ann' sail mo bhròige, 
Biadh a b' fhearr a fhuair mi riamh. 
Hunger is a cook right good, 
Woe to him who sneers at food, 
Barley crowdie in my shoe, 
Tlie sweetest food I ever kneio. 

Is math an ealag a' chlach gus an ruigear i. 
The stone is a good chopping-hlock till it's reached. 

Is math an fhiacal a bhi roimh 'n teanga. 
It is loell that the teeth are before the tongue. 
Da daint rhag tafod — Good are teeth before tongue. — JFelsh. 
The mouth is the tongue's prison. — Arab. 

Is math an glèus toil. 

Will is a good putter-in-trim. 

See ' Far am bi toil'. 


Is math an latha 'ni a' madadh-ruadh searmoiu. 
It's a fine day lohen the fox turns preacher. 
Quanclo la volpe predica, guardatevi, galline ! — Ital. 
See Reynard the Fox. 

Is math an naigheachd a bhi gun naigheachd. 

No iiews is good news. 

Is math an riid a thig ri 'mhithich. 

It's a good thing that comes in season. 

Is math an rud air an tig piseach. 
It's a good thing which luck follows. 

Is math an saoghal seo ma mhaireas e. 
This is a good life if it vjovld last. 
Is maith a saoglial è, ma mhaireann se a bh-fliad. — Ir. 
It's a guid eneuch warld, if it baud. — Scot. 

Is math an sgàthan sùil caraide. 
A friend's eye is a good looking-glass. 
Is maith an sgathan siiil cliarad. — Ir. Dr^ch i bawb ei 
gymraydog — One's neighbour is his mirror. — Welsh. 
The best mirror is an old friend. — Enrj. 
The image of friendship is truth.— ^ra6. 
No ay mejor espejo que el amigo viejo. — Span. 

Is math an t-aighear a bhi glic. 

To he loise is good cheer. 

Understanding is a well-spring of life. — Prov. xvi. 22. 

Is math an t-aoidh a thig sonas ri 'linn. 
He is a good guest tvho hidings good luck. 
Al. Is olc an t-aoidh a 's misd' an tigh. 

Is math an t-each a thoilicheas am marcaiche. 

He's a good horse that pleases his rider. 

Is maith a t-each a shàsuigheas gach marcach. — Ir. 

Is math an t-each nach tuislich- ceum. 
He's a good horse that never stumUes. 
Is maith an gearran nach m-bainneann tuisleadh ùair èigin do. 
—Ir. See'Tuìslichidh'. 

Is math an torn air am bi sealbh. 
It's a good hillock on which cattle are. 

Is math an tràth a dh'fhoghnas da fhein. 
It's a good season {or meal) that suffices for its time. 
Al. Is math an la a bheir e fhein as. 


Is math an t-uaireadair a' bhrii, an t-sùil, 's an coileach. 

The belly, the eye, and the cock, are good timepieces. 

Men of old could guess the time of day very nearly by the sun. 
Their sensations informed them when it was breakfast or supper- 
time. The crowing of the cock was their morning-call. 

Is math an iirra fear mulain. 

A man with some corn is a good security. 

Is math bean an deadh fhir, ach is fhearr dha a faot- 
ainn math. 

The good man's wife is good, hut it is best if he find her 

That is, find her good, instead of making her good. 

Is math conach. Wealth is good. 

' Conach ' is a word obsolete in our vernacular. 

Is math cruinneachadh na pille farsuinn. 

Good is the gathering of the wide ivinnotving-cloth. 

Is math cuid na ciad oidhche roimh 'n ath-oidhch'. 
The first night's stock is good for the second night. 
It is good to have so much that the first night's provisions may 
be spared for next night. 

Is math dhuts" an t-sùil nach fhaca. 

Good for you the eye that saiv it not. 

A curious form of expression, meaning, ' It's well for you that 
So-and-so didn't see you '. 

Is math do chù nan gobhar nach robh cù nan caorach 

Good for the goat-dog that the sheep-dog ivas not there. 

The sheep dog woiùd be the superior officer. 

Is math esan a bhi ann gus a' chas a chur air. 

Good that he was there to get the foot set on him. 

Al. gus a' choire 'chur air — to get the blame. 

Is math far an saoilear. 

It's well to be well thought of. 

Lit. It's well where it's supposed. The meaning is, that there 
is an advantage in getting credit, however erroneously, for more 
than is possessed. 

Is math gach flinch air a' phathadh. 
Whatever is wet is good for thirst. 

Al. Lag no làidir, 's math gach fliuch, &c. — TVeak or strong, 
what's wet, &c. 

Is math gach meas air a bhlas fhein. 
Every fruit is good of its oivn taste. 
Is math gach urchair troimh 'n chlàr. 
Every shot is good that hits the mark. 
Lit. goes through the hoard. 

Is math gu'm foghainn im-odhar do chàbhruich. 

Dun hutter docs for soivens. 

Like to like. 

Is math gu'm foghainn nighean gobha do dh-ogha 

A blacksmith's daughter is a good match for a tinkers 

Is math lionmhorachd nan làmh, ach mu 'n mhèis seo. 

The more hands the better, except round this dish. 

Al. Is math na fir ach mu'n mhèis. 

Said to have been a warning given by an attendant who brought 
in a poisoned dish. 

Is math ma mhaireas. iVcll if it last. 

Is math na seirbheisich, 's olc na maighistirean, Teine, 
Gaoth, 'us Uisge. 

Fire, Wind, and Water, are good servants, hut had 

Fire and water are good servants, &c. — Eng., Scot, Germ., Dan. 

Is math nach 'eil iuchraichean an domhain fo chrios 
na h-aon mhnatha. 

It's loell that all the keys of the ivorld are not under 
one wifes girdle. 

Al. air do chrios — on your girdle. See ' Cha 'n 'eil gach'. 

Is meanmach gach moch-thrathach. 
Lively is the early riser. 

Is miann le triubhas a bhi 'measg aodaich, is miann 
leam fhein a bhi 'measg mo dhaoine. 

Trews like to he among clothes ; I like to he among my 

Is miann leis a' chleireach mias mhèith 'bhi aig an 

A fat dish to the priest is the clerk's wish. 

Is miann leis a chleireach mias mhèith comh niaith leis an 
t-sagart (as well as the priest). — Ir. 


Is miannaiche aon gliille breac-luirgneach ua seachd 
muathan torrach. 

One S20otty-lcgged lad has more appetite that seven preg- 
nant women. 

Is milis corrag theth, ma 's milis cha mhatb. 

Sweet is a hot finger, but not to he desired. 

Is mine min na gran, is mine mnài na iir. 
Meal is finer than grain, ivomen are finer than men, 
■ Very Celtic, and polite to women. 

Is minig a bha bial luath aig droch charaide. 
A lad friend has often had a glib tongue. 

Is minig a bha breith luath lonach. 

A quick judgment is often wordy. 

Is minig a bha claidheamh math 'an droch thruaill. 

Good sword has often been in poor scabbard : 

Is minig a bha craicionn an laoigh air an fhdill roiml 
chraicionn a mhàthar. 

The calf's skin often goes to market before his mothers. 

Aussi tot meurt veaii que vache. — Fr. 

Daar komer zo wel kalver huiden als ossen huiden te markt. — 

Al. Is trie a bha craicionn an nain air a' chleith, cho luath ri 
craicionn na seana-chaora — The skin of the lamb has often been hung 
up as soon as that of the old sheep. 

As soon comes the lamb's skin to the market as the auld tup's. 
— Scot. So Eng., Germ., Port. 

Is minig a bha dreach breagh air maide mosgain, 

A rotten stick is often nice to look at. 

Is minig a bha droch bhròg air mnaoi griasaiche. 
Often has a shoemaker s wife had bad shoes. 

Is minig a bha droch laogh aig deadh mhart. 
Many a good cow hath an evil ccdf. — Eng. 

"Avòpav rjpaxjov rÌKva TTrjfiara — Gr. Heroum filii noxii — Lat. 

Is minig a bha laogh math aig boin sgàirdich. 
A skittering cow has often had a good calf. 
Is minig a bha ùth mhòr aig boin chaoil-chasaich. 
The slender-legged cow has oftenest a large itdder. 
Al. a, bha boinne mhath— a good drop. 


Is niiuig a thainig conihairle glilic a ceann amadain. 

Often has tcise counsel come from afooVs head. 

Al. a bial an amadain — the fool's mouth. 

Al. 'S minig a bha conihairle righ 'an ceann amadain. 

Is minig a fuaras comhairle ghlic ò amadàn. — Ir. 

Is minig a blia leigeadh fad' aig fear gun chii, 'us urcli- 
air aig fear gun ghunna. 

A man vAthout a clog or gun has often got a chance at 

Is minig a bha 'Math-an-airidh' gun ni, agus ni aig 
' Beag-an-toirt'. 

' Wcll-deserxecV has often heen empty-handed, and 'Little 
matter' well-off. 

Is minig a bha muir mhor 'an caolas cumhang. 

A great sea has often run in a narrow strait. 

Is minig a bha 'n Donus dàicheil. 

Tlie Devil is often attractive. 

The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman. — K. Lear, III., 4. 

Is minig a bha rath air leirist. 

A silly has often heen luchj. 

Al. air mall-thriallair — a slow traveller. 

Is minig a bha sùil-chruthaich air liana bhòidheach. 
A fair meadovj has often had a quagmire. 

Is minig a chaidh a' mas a soitheach dionach. 
The bottom has often gone out of a tight vessel. 

Is minig a chaill bodach lair, agus a rinn e treabhadh. 
An old man has often lost a mare, and done his 

Is minig a dh' eirich muir gharbh a plumanaich. 

Hough sea has often followed noise of surge. 

A muffled roar from the sea at night in calm weather often pre- 
cedes a storm. The word 'plumanaich' is also applied to a chopping 
sea, which; when seen in a calm, is a sure sign of coming storm. 

Is minig a dh' fhàg làmhan luath cluasan goirid. 
Quick hands have often made short ears. 
Alluding to the old punishment of cropping the ears. 

Is minig a dhiomoil an ceannaiche 'n rud 'bu mhath 
leis "n a mhàileid. 

The merchant has often disj^raised what he ivould like 
to have iii Ids pack. 

Al. Is minig a chain am marsant' am liathar, &c. 

It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer.— Prov. xx. 14. 

The ' merchant ' generally referred to in these proverbs was 
simply a packman or pedlar, an important person in the High- 
lands before shops were common ; of whom Wordsworth chose 
one as the hero of the Excursion. 

Is mÌDÌg a fhuair fear na h-eadraiginn buille. 

Tlie interposer has often got a blow. 

See 'Bidh dùrn'. 

Is minig an fhirinn searbh ri h-innseadh. 

Truth is often harsh to tell. 

Al. Tha 'n fhirinn fhein searbh air uairean. 

Is minig a thainig boganach a blàthaiclL 

Butter-milk has often made a humpkiu. 

Is minig a thainig air laogli mear, galair nacli do sliaoil 
a mhàthair. 

A merry calf has often taken a disease which his dam 
never dreamed of. 

Is minig a thainig fior a fanaid. 

Mockery has often turned to earnest. 

See ' Is trie a chaidh '. 

Is minig a thainig gnothach na bain-tighearna gu 
bothan cailleach nan cearc. 

The lady's affairs have often found their way to the 
hen-wife's bothy. 

See 'Faodaidh gnothach'. 

Is minig a thainig meathadh o mhathadh. 

Forgiveness has often caused degeneracy. 

Is minig a thainig tart air deadh mhuileann. 

A good mill has often wanted water. 

Is minig a thog fear-rogha diù. 

A chooser has often taken the worse. 

Is minig a thugadh seachad air an stràic an rud a 
fhuaradh air bhleid. 

^Yhat VMS got luith imjoortunity has often been given 
away icith swagger. 

Ehoi 'r dorth a gofyn y dafell— To give the loaf and ask for the 
slice. — Welsh. 


Is mios' amaideachd na h-aois na amaideachd ua 

The folly of age is worse than the folly of youth. 
See 'Cha 'n 'eil amadan'. 

Is mios' an fhead na 'n eubh. 
The whistle is worse than the cry. 
The whistle of a thief or cateran. 

Is mios' an t-eagal na 'n cogadli. 
Fear is loorse tlmn fighting. 
A wise and manly sentiment. 

Is mios' an t-sochair na 'mlièirle. 

Carelessness is tcorse than theft. 

More loss is caused by the one than by the other. 

Is miosa na 'n uireasbhuidh tuiUe 's a choir. 

Too much is u-orse thaii tvant. 

Per con. 'S mios' an t-uireasbhuidh na tuille 's a' choir— Want 
is worse than too much. 

There is some truth in both these, combined in the prayer of 
Agur, ' Give me neither poverty nor riches'. 

Is mios' an t-urras na'n t-earras. 

The security is luorse tlmn the prineiijal. 

Is miosa droch earbsa na 'blii gun earbs' idir. 

Ill-lilaeed trust is worse than none. 

Is miosa 'fear a chleitheas a' mèirleacli na 'mèirleach 

He that cloaks the thief is vjorse than him. 

Is miosa 'fear beag na Frangach. 

The wee man is v:orse than a Frenchman. 

This is said to have been spoken of a little Strathspey man 
called John MacAndrew, a noted bowman, who shot down his 
enemies one after another, as they appeared at the door of his 
house, which they had invaded. See Cuairtear, 1842, p. 131. 

Is miosa seo na 'n t-alum ! 

This is worse than the alum 1 

A Highland minister once ordered some 'sugar-candy' from 
Glasgow by a little ' merchant,' one of his parishioners. When 
the sugar was tried, it turned out to be alum. The minister was 
naturally displeased, and to soothe him, the bhop-keeper, on the 

ad\-ice of a kno^idng brother of the minister, determined to bring 
a peace-offering to the manse, in the shape of a small ' pig ' of 
Ferintosh. Not feeling sure of his reception, however, he hid the 


jar outside, while he went in to make his call. The worthy mi- 
nister was easily appeased, and Donald hastened out for the great 
reconciler, and proceeded at once to fill out a glass. To his aston- 
ishment, the minister had no sooner tasted than he spat it out 
again, exclaiming, with a strong interjection, ' 'S miosa so na 'n 
t-alum !' The parson's wicked brother had emptied the jar, and 
filled it with salt water. 

Is misde na bochdan a bhi lionmhor. 
The foor are the worse of being numerous. 

Is mis' a bha tliall 's a cliunnaic e, 's a tliàinig a nail 
's a dh'innis e. 

'Tis I that was over and saw it, and came hack and 
told it. 

Is mithich a bhi 'bogadh nan gad. 

It's time to he steeping the withes. 

This native Gaelic saying, meaning 'It's time to be going,' 
belongs to the time when withes of birch or osier were iised for 
halters and all the fastenings of horse harness (See note to ' An 
gad'). These withes would laecome stiff and brittle, if laid by for 
some time, and would therefore be steeped for a while before 
taking to horse. There is an Ulster saying in the same words. 

Is mo am fuaim na 'bhuil. 

The noise is greater than the effect. 

Nid cymmaint Bleddyn a' i drwst — Bleddyn is not so great as 
his noise. — Welsh. 

Plus sonat qnam valet. — Seneca. 

See 'Fuaim mòr'. 

Is mo an-t-sùil na 'bhrii. 

The eye is higgcr than the helly. 

Al. Is mo Ian do shiila na Ian do bhroinn — The fill of your eye 
is more, &c. 

His eye is bigger than his belly. — Eng. 

Die Augen sind weiter denn der Bauch. — Germ. 

De oogen zijn groter dan de bulk. — Dutch. 

The eye is not satisfied with seeing. — Eccl. i. 8. 

The dust alone can fill man's eye. — Arab. 

He'll hae eneuch some day when his mouth's fu' o' niools. — Scot. 

Is raò do mholl na do shiol. 

Yoiir chaff is more than your grain. 

Is mocli a dh' eireas am fear a bheir an car as. 

He ivill rise early that outioits him. 

Is moch a dh' eireas am fear nach laidh. 

He rises early who goes not to hed. 


Is moid a' mhiiir Lòchaidh. 
The sea is the bigger of Lochy. 

The Lochy, a fine river flowing out of a lake of the same name, 
falls into the sea near the base of Ben Nevis. 

Is moid i sid, mu'n dubhairt an dreaglian-donn, 'n uair 
a rinn e dhileag 's a' mhuir mhoir. 

Ifs the ligger of that, as the icren said ivhen he added 
a drojp to the sea. 

Scottish Proverb to same effect. 

Is moid rud a roinn. 

A thing is the bigger of heing shared. 

A generous sentiment. 

Is mor a dh' fhaodar a dheanamli fo làimh deadh 

Much may he done under a good mail's hand. 

Is mor a dh' fhuilingeas cridlie glan mii 'm brist e. 
A clean heart ivill suffer much ere it break. 
Meikle maun a giiid heart thole. — Scot. 
Were na my heart licbt I wad dee. — Burns. 

Is mor am beotliach nach tiochd a muigh. 
It's a big beast that there isn't room for outside. 
Al. Is mor am fear — He's a big man. 

The irony of this is delicate. It is applied to persons so mighty 
that no house or haU seems big enough for them. 

Is mor am facal nach tiochd 's a bhial. 
It's a big word that the mouth can't hold. 
There is a wise irony in this also. For the word ' tiochd ' or 
' teachd ' the word ' toill ' is used in Skye. 

Is mor a rinn thu de dheireadh air cho beag de bhrod. 
You made much refuse to so little grain. 
See ' Is mo do mhòll'. 

Is mor a theid thar ceann slàn. 

A so^md head will come through much. 

Is mor facal 'g a lughadh. 

A word is big when it is lessened. 

Qui s' excuse s' accuse. — Fr. 

Is mor fiach na foighidinn ; 
Is lu^haid fears; fuireach : 


Cha 'n e 'n t-ànradh a th' ann, 

Ach cion foighidinn gu fuireach. 

Of great yir ice is patience ; 

Wrath declines with waiting ; 

Not the evil is so great, 

As impatience to ivait. 
Is mor thugam, 's is beag agam. 
Great appearance and little value. 

Is mor le doimeig a cuid abhrais ; 's cha 'n e mhòid 
ach a dhorrad. 

TJie slattern's spÌ7ining -stuff looks great to her ; not the 
bulk, but the bother. 

Defnyddfawr pob angheUydd— Unskilful requires much stuff.— 

Is mor òirleach bharr sròin duine. 
An inch off a man's nose is a great deal. 
Possibly this Celtic saying may have been known to M. About 
when he composed his 'Nez d'un avocat'. 

Is mor stà na h-Airde do Mhac-Shimidh. 

Great is the profit of the Aird to Lovat. 

The Aird is a district belonging to the Lovat family. 

Is mor toirm cuilce gun dol troimhpe. 

The storm of reeds is loud till you go through them. 

More formidable in sound than in reality. 

Is ni air leth cè dòirte. 

Spilt cream is a thing by itself. 

An irremediable loss. 

Is niarachd do'n gealladh tu 'chroich. 

Lucky for him to ivhom you woidd promise the gallows. 

Said to people whose word does not go for mucK 

Is obair latha duine thiodhlaiceadh. 

To bury a man is a days tuork. 

So it used to be, and not in the Highlands only. Lord 
Brougham's account of the funeral of his grandmother gives an 
amusing illustration of this. 

Is obair-latha tòiseachadh. 
Beginning is a days work. 

Deuparth gwaith ei ddechreu — Txco parts of a n-orlc is heginning. 
— IVdsh. See 'Is da tlirian'. 


Is odhar gach sean, 's is geal gach nobha, gu ruig 
snodhach an fhearna. 

Every old thing is dim, every nciu thing ichite, even to 
the sap of the alder. 

The alder when stripped of its bark is very white, but very 
soon the colour changes to reddish brown and dun. 

Is òg an NoUaig a' chiad oidhche. 
Christmas is young the first night. 
Is olc a blii slaodadh cait air 'earball. 
It's ill to drag a cat hy the tail. 

Is olc a' bho-laoigh a' chreag, oidhch' air mhor, 'us 
oidhch' air bheag. 

The rock is a had milch-cotv, one night fertile, another 
night barren. 

Al. Is corrach gob an dubhain, 

Is mairg do 'm bo-laoigh a' chreag, 

Oidhch' air bheagan, 's oidhch' air mhoran, 

'S oidhche gun a' mhor no 'bheag. 

Uncertain is the lioint of the hook ; 

III for him whose milch-coiv is the rock ; 

One night little, another plenty ; 

Borne nights neither much nor little. 

Is olc a' chliath fhearna nach toir bliadhna's an ursainn. 

It's a poor cdder hurdle that wont hang for a year to 
the post. 

Al. Is olc an cabar fearna nach dean ràidhl' air tigh — Ws a had 
stick of alder that won't make a rafter. 

Alder is one of the poorest kinds of timber. 

Is olc a' chreag a threigeas a h-eòin fhèin. 

It's a had rock which its own hirds forsake. 

Is olc a fhreagradh tu 'n iochdar Thròtairnis. 

You wouldn't suit well in the lower end of Troternish. 

Troternish (Trodda-ness) is a general name applied to the 
northern part of Skye. The climate and soil there are somewhat 
colder than in the rest of the Island, so that a lazy or deUcate 
person would not do well there. 

Is olc a' ghaoth leis nach seòl cuid-eigiu. 
It's an ill vnncl with ivhich 7io one can sail. 
Al. nach seid ann an seòl fir-eigin — that doesn't blow in some 
man's sail. 

It is an ill wind that blows no man to good. — Eng. 
It's an ill wuud that blaws naebody guid. — Scot. 


Is olc a' muileann a cliuireas a chuid a dh 'aon taobh. 

It's a had mill that sends all its meal one way. 

Is olc a' sgrioban nach lion a' sgròban. 

It's 'poor scra'ping that wont fill the crop. 

Is olc a thig muc-saille air sobhraichean na coille. 

The fat soio is ill-fed on the jyrvnroses of the wood. 

Is olc a thig saor sàr-bhuilleach, goblia crith-lamhach, 
agus leigh tioin-cliridheach. 

A heavy-handed joiner, a trcmhliny-handed smith, and 
a soft-hearted leech, do not suit. 

A good surgeon must have an eagle's eye, a lady's hand, and a 
lion's heart. — Eng. 

The use of ' thig ' = fit, without a preposition, is peculiar, and 
not according to present usage. 

Is olc am bodach nach fheairrde cailleach eadar i 's 
an dorus. 

Hes a vjretched old man that an old ivife is not the 
letter of having hetween her and the door. 

Is olc am pàisd' nach cuir sop air dòigh. 

It's a had child that can't arrange a wisp. 

Is olc an còcair nach imlich a mhiar. 

He's a poor cooh that doesn't lich his finger. 

Sa er brytinn vestr er sjalfan sik taelir. — It is the worst cooh that 
stints himself. — Icel. 

Is olc an comunn dheth 'm bi dithis diombach. 

It's had company with which two are displeased. 

Al. an comhradh — the colloquy; an cluich — the game; an 
gnothach — the business. 

Is olc an dithis nach fhoghainn do dh-aon duine. 

It's a poor pair that are no match for one. 

Is olc an fheòil nach gabh ri salann ; is miosa a' chol- 
ainn nach gabh guth. 

It's had meat that won't take salt; zoorse is the hody 
that won't take ivarning. 

Is olc an goile nach teòth a chnid. 

It's a had stomach that its food won't ivarm. 

Is olc an ni a bhi falamh. 

It's a had thing to have nothing. 

Proverbs of this kind must have suggested ' Proverbial Philo- 
sophy '. 


Is olc au obair latha nacli toir duine gu cala mu 

It's a had days ivork that ivonH hring a man to iwrt 
for the night. 

Is olc an ràmh nacli iomair rudha. 

Us a had oar that xoon't row round a 'point. 

Is olc an t-ana-charaid an righ. 

The, king is a had un-friend. 

Is olc an t-aoigh a 's misd an tigli. 

He is a had guest vjhom the house is the ivorsc of. 

A kindly and hospitable sentiment. 

Is olc an t-each nach fliiach a chrudhadh. 

Hes a had horse that's not ivorth shoeing. 

Is olc an t-each nacli giùlain 'fhasair. 

It's a poor horse that can't carry his harness. 

He's a weak baist that downa bear the saiddle. — iicot. 

Al. Is don' an t-each nach giùlain a shiol — He's a icretched horse 
that can't carry his corn. 

Superbo è quel cavallo che non si vnol portar la biada — 
He's a proud horse that won't carry his oats. — Ital. 

Is olc an teanga a 's luaithe na 'n teine. 
Bad is the tongue that's swifter than fire. 
Is olc do'n luing an uair a dh'eiglieas an stiùireadair. 
It's ill for the ship when the steersman sings out. 
To ' sing out ' is the duty of the man at the bow ; if he fail in 
his duty, then the ship is in great danger. 

Is olc cuid a' cheatharnaich ri 'thasgadh. 

The reaver's goods are ill to keep. 

Is olc maoin gun leasachadh. 

Bad is property that gets no addition. 

The moral is that of the Parable of the Talents, 

Is priseil a' chas air tir. 
Precious is the foot on shore. 
Loda il mar, e tienti alia terra. — Ital. 

Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of 
barren ground ! — Tempest, I. 1. 

Is righ an cam am measg nan dall. 

The hlind of an eye is king among the blind. 

In the kingdom of blind men the one-eyed is king. — Eng. 

Au pays des aveugles les borgnes sons rois. — Fr. 


Unter den Blinden ist der Einaugige Konig. — Germ. 

In bet land der blinden is een-oog koning. — Dutch. 

En tierra de ciegos el tuerto es rey. — Span. 

Tbe one-eyed is a beauty in the country of the blind. — Arab. 

In terra di ciechi beato chi ha un occhio. — Ital. 

Is rigli duine 'n a thigh fhem. 
A man is king in his own house. 
Hair er heima hverr — Every one is somebody at home. — Iccl. 
An Englishman's house is his castle. This saying, singularly 
enough, is not in Mr. Hazlitt's collection. 

Is righeachd do gach duine a thoil. 
A mans will is his kingdom. 
My mind to me a kingdom is. — Byrd's Psalms. 
Lord of himself, though not of lands. — Wotton. 

Mens regnum bona possidet : 

Rex est qui metuit nihil ; 

Rex est cpii cupit nihil ; 

Hoc regnum sibi quisque dat. — Seneca. 
Is sàmhach an obair dol a dholaidh. 
Going to ruin is silent 7vork. 
Al. Is fas a bhi do! a dholaidh. 

Is sealgair math a mharbhas gèadh, 'us corr', 'us guilb- 

He is a good sportsman who kills ivild-goose, and heron, 
and curleiv. 

Three particularly wary birds. 

Is sean an duine a dh' fhaodas 'fhortan innseadh. 
He is an old man that can tell his fortune. 
Is searbh a' ghlòir nach fhaodar eisdeachd ; is dubh na 
mnathan ris nach bitear. 

Harsh is the praise that cannot he listened to; dark 
are the dames that none can flirt with. 
Is searbh clàrsair an aon-phuirt. 
Harsh is the harper of one tune. 
Al. piobair' an aon phuirt, the piper, d-c. 
Still harping on my daughter. — Hamlet, II., 2. 

Is seasgair sàmhach a' chearc air a h-iris fhein. 
The hen is snug and quiet on her oivn roost. 
Is seile air do bhrat fhein sin. 
That is spitting on your oivn mantle. 
Wie tegen wind spuwt,maakt zijn baard vuil — IVlw spits against 
the ivindjyles his beard. — Dutch. 


Quien al cielo escupe, en la cara le cae — Who spits above him 
will get it on his face. — Span. 

Is sgeul eile sin. Timfs another story. 

Is sleamhain an laogh a dh'imlicheas a mhàthair. 

Smooth is the calf that his mother licks. 

Is sleamhain leac dorus an tigh-mhòir. 

Slippery is the flag-stone of the mansioji-house door. 

There's a sliddery stane at the ha' door. — Scot. 

Ha' binks (benches) are sliddery. — Do. 

Is sleamhuin leac dorus tigh moir. — Ir. 

John Morrison of Bragar is said to have illustrated this saying 
once in a lively manner, by taking some sand out of his pocket 
at the door of Brahan Castle, and carefully sprinkling it on the 
flagstones. Being asked what he meant, he quoted the above 

Is soilleir cù dulDh air liana bliàin ; 
Is soilleir cù ban air liana dhuibli ; 
Na 'm bithinn ri fiadhach nam beann, 
B' e 'n CÙ riabhach mo rogliainn. 

The hright field shows the sable hound ; 
The lohite is seen on dusky ground ; 
Were I chasing the deer in forest free, 
The brindled hound my choice shoidd be. 

Is soilleir mir a bonnach slàn. 
Bit from a whole cake is soon seen. 

Is soimeach fear-fearainn, is sona fear-ceairde. 
Fasy lives the man of land, happy is the tradesman. 
This is modern. 

Is sona a' chailleach a thig ri linn an fhaothachaidh. 
Lucky is tJie old ivife that comes at the turn of the 

She would get credit for the cure. 

Is sona am fear a thig an ceann a chodach. 

He is lucky who comes in time for his share. 

Is sona gach cuid an comaidh ; is mairg a chromadh 
'n a aonar. 

Happy is that tvhich is shared ; pity him wJw fares 

Lit. who stoops, or bends. A good social sentiment. 


Is stuama duine làimh ri 'chuid. 

A man is moderate near wliafs his oivn. 

Is suarach au càirdeas a dh' fheumas a shior cheannacli. 

It's poor fricndshi'p that must he constantly bought. 

Is suarach uisge teth a shireadh fo chloich fhuair. 

It's silly to seek hot loater under a cold stone. 

To seik liet water beneith cauld ice, 

Surely it is a greit folie ; 

I have asked grace at a graceless face, 

But there is nane for my men and me ! 

— Ballad of Johnie Armstrang. 

Is taom-boileach an t-sealg, is farmadacli an t-iasgach. 
Hunting is distracting, fishing is envious. 

Is tearc each a dhiùltas a mhuing. 
Seldom will a horse refuse his mane. 

Is tearc teanga mhin gun ghath air a cùl. 
Seldom is smooth tongue ivithout sting behind. 
Is anamh bhios teangaidh mhilis gan gath ann a bun. — Ir. 
Belle parole, ma guarda la borsa. —Ital. 

Is teotha fuil na burn. 
Blood is hotter than water. 
Al. Is tighe — is thicker. 
Is tibhe fuil na uisge. — Ir. 
Ta fuill ny s chee na uslitey. — Manx. 
Blood is thicker than water. — H^ng., Scot. 
Blut ist dicker als Wasser. — Germ. 

The Gaelic version is the better. The Spanish ' La sangre sin 
fuego hierve,' Blood boils without fire, is similar, but not so good. 

Is tiughaid' am brat a dhùbladh. 
The mantle is the thicker of beiiig doubled. 
Is teòide (warmer) do 'n m-brat a dhiibladh. — Ir. 
Applied to the marriage of relatives. Here the Irish version 
is better. 

Is toigh le bo mhaol bo mhaol eile. 

A hornless coiv likes another without horns. 

Al. bo sgàirdeach. 

Is toigh learn aran a' bhodaich, ach cha toigh learn 
anail a' bhodaich. 

/ like the old mans bread, but not his breath. 

Most proverbs have been composed by men ; this seems to Ije 
an exception, and not a pleasant one. 


Is toigh leis an fheannaig a h-isean garrach gorm. 

The crovj likes licr greedy blue chick. 

Is treasa da chaiUeach lag iia aon chailleach làidir. 

Two weak old vjomen are stronger than one strong one. 

Is treasa deadh-àrach na meath-ghalar. 

Good nurture overcomes disease. 

Is treasa Dia na Doideag ; is treasa Doideag na Mac- 

God is stronger than Doideag ; Doideag is stronger 
than MacLean. 

Doideag was a mtcli, at one time mucli feared in the island of 
Mull. She was peculiarly ibeaded for her power in raising storms. 
^lacLean of Duart, the Chief of that great Clan, was of course 
paramount in Mull. Sec MacLeod's Rem. of a Higlil. Parish ('2d 
ed.), p. 247. 

Is treasa dithis 's an àtha gun 'bhi fada bho clieile. 
Two crossing the ford are best near each other. 

Is treasa slat na cuaille. 
A rod is stronger than a club. 

This is perhaps a hyperbolical way of saying that due chastise- 
ment is more effectual than extreme measures. 

Is treasa Tuath na Tighearna. 

Tenantry are stronger than Laird. 

Stroshey yn Theay na yn Chiarn. — Manx. 

This is a remarkalale saying, to have originated among a race 
distinguished by their subordination and fidelity to their natural 
chiefs and lords. It belongs to a time when the rights of the Clan 
or Tenantry were real, and believed in by themselves. 

Is treun fear an eòlais. 

The man that knows is liowerful. 

Knowledge is power. — Bacon. 

Is trian suiridhe samhladh. 

To be ' evened ' is a third of courtship. 

The Scotch phrase ' even,' to couple a man and woman in con- 
versation as a lihely match, is the only word that expresses here 
the meaning of ' samhladh '. 

Is trie a bha am beag treubhach. 
Tlie little are often brave. 
Is trie a bha beag beag an toirt. 
Tlie little is often of little account. 


Is trie a bha bean saoir gun chuigeil, 's bean griasaiche 
gun bhròig. 

A carpenters wife has often vMnted a distaff, and a 
shoemakers wife sJwes. 

Is trie a bha breagh air an fheill, mosach'n a thigh fhein. 

Fine at the fair may he mean at the fireside. 

Is trio a bha claidheamh fada 'an làimh gealtair'. 

A long stoord has often been in a coivard's hand. 

Is trie a bha diehioll air dheireadh. 

Diligence has often been behind. 

And hick in front. 

Per con. Cha bhi diehioll air dheireadh. 

Is trie a bha fortan air luid, 's a fhuair trusdar bean. 

Slatterns have often had luck, and dirty fellows got wives. 

See 'Gheabh foighidinn'. 

Is trie a bha gaoid 'an ubhal bòidheaeh. 

Often has flaio been in a fair apple. 

Is trie a bha mor mi-sheadhail. 

Tlu big is often stupid. 

Giants are always so represented in the old stories. 

Is trie a bha 'n galar a bh' air Aodh air an fhear a 
bha ri 'thaobh. 

Hugh's neighbour Juts often had the same disease as he. 
This is true both physically and morally. 

Is trie a bha na h-aimhniehean a' dèabhadh, 'us na 
h-uillt a' ruith. 

The rivers «rc often dry, while the brooks are running. 

Before a flood. 

Is trie a bha na loingis nihor a' crionadh, 's na h-amair- 
mhùin a' seòladh. 

Often have large ships been rotting, while the little pots 
are floating. 

A 1. Na loingis mhor a' dol fo 'n chuan, 's na h-amair-fliuail a' 

Is trie a bha slioehd na seilge air seaehran. 

The hunting tribe has often been at fault. 

Is trie a bha slaodaire beairteaeh, 'us caonnag air duine 

Many a lout is wealthy, and clever man hard put-to. 


Is trie a bha sonas air bial mor. 

Large mouth is often lucky. 

Muckle-mou'd folk has aye hap to their mQoX.—Scot. 

Is trie a bha suaib-cliiitbaich air leauabh bodaich. 
An old man's child has often had a touch of madness. 

Is trie a bha urrainn grni ni, agus ni gun urrainn. 
The worthy has often lacked means, and means hecn 
enjoyed luithout merit. 

Is trie a bheothaich srad bheag teine mor, 

A small spark has often kindled a great fire. 

Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth ! — St. J^\3IES. 

Parvula scintilla spepe magntim suscitavit incendium. — Lett. 

A single spark can burn the whole quarter. — Arab. 

Piccola favilla accende gran fuoco. — Ital. 

Von einem Funken konimt ein grosses Feuer. — Germ. 

A small spark makes a great fire. — Eng. 

A wee spark maks muckle wark. — Scot. 

Is trie a chaidh an fheala-dhà gu feala-rireadli. 
Joke has often come to earnest. 
Mows may come to earnest. — Scot. 

Is trie a ebaillear fear na mor-mbisnich. 
Daring often leads to death. 

'S mie ve daaney, ach s"olk ve ro ghaaney — It is good to be bold, 
but bad to be too bold. — Manx. 

Be bold, but not too bold. — Eng. 

Is trie a ehinn an eneadach, 's a dh' fhalbh an sodar- 

The delicate often survive, vjhile the vigorous go. 

Is trie a ehinn fuigheaU fochaid, 's a mheath fiiigheall 

The refuse of mockery has often waxed, and that of 
envy v:aned. 

Macintosh's rendering is, ' Oft has the object of scorn arrived 
at honour, and that of envy fallen into contempt'. 

Is trie a fhuair ' olc an airidh' car. 
' Poor fellow ' has often heen crossed. 
Lit. ' lU-deserved' has often got a turn. 

Is trie a fhuair fear na roghainn diù. 

The man with cJwice has often got the vjorse. 


Is trie a fhuair gunna urchair-iasaid. 

A gun has often got a loan-shot. 

It was sometimes believed that an unloaded gun might go off 
notwithstanding, and kill, if incautiously handled— an exagge- 
ratiun of the proper horror of a reckless handling of fire-arms. 

Is trie a mlieall e sheis, an neacli a glieall a bhi tairis 

Oftfii has one failed Msfelloio, who 'promised to he true 
to him. 

Is trie is daoire 'chomain na 'n dubh-cheannacb. 

A favour often costs more than ivhat's hard-bought. 

Spesso i doni sono danni — Gifts are often losses. — Ital. 

Is trie a tbainig trod mor a aobhar beag. 
Often has great quarrel s'prung from little cause. 

Is trie a thug fear na eiad cheilidh fior bharail. 

The vian of first visit has often judged truly. 

Gloggt es gestz augat — Sliar'p (gleg) is the eye of a guest. — Icel. 

Is trie leis an droeh-sgenl a bhi fior. 
Bad news is often true. 

Is trie naeh tig ath-sgeul air droch-sgeul. 
Ill news is not often contradicted. 

Is trie naeh robh ach beagan sneaehd air tigh a 

Thei^e has often been hut little snoiu on the roof of the 

He would probably be out at night, and have a fire kept on 
whUe honest people were in bed, which would melt the snow un 
the thatch. 

Is trom air tigh gun nàire. 

A shameless house has its burden. 

Is trom an eat ri 'shìor-ghiùlan. 

The cat is heavy if carried constantly. 

Children are fond of carrying cats ; Init even a grown-up 
person would tire in time of a light burden. 

Is trom an eire an t-aineolas. 
Ignorance is a heavy burden. 

Al. Is cruaidh cuing an aineolaich — Hard is the yoke of tiie 

Is trom an t-uallach aineolas. — Ir. 


Is tròm an iorram 's an t-iomradh. 

'Tis heavy to chant and row. 

See ' Cha 'n urrainn domh 'h-eigheach '. 

Is trom an uallach an aois. Age is a heavy load. 

Grave senectus est hominibiis pondus. — Lat. 

Is trom buiir an t-sean laoich. 

Heavy is the old herds Uoio. 

See ' Is fhurasda buill' '. 

Is trom dithis air aon duine. 

Tiuo to one are heavy odds. 

See 'Cothrom'. 

Is trom dithis air an aon mhèis, gun ac' acli an t-aon 

Two are heavy on one dish, when there is hut one ration. 

Is trom eaUach gun iris. 

Heavy is the load without a rope to hold hy. 

None of the Dictionaries give this meaning of the word ' iris,' 
which in the Hebrides is the common term for the rope with 
which a creel or a bundle of any kind is carried. 

Is trom geum bo air a h-aineol. 

Heavy is the coiv's low in a strange fold. 

Is àrd gèum bò air a h-aineòlas.— Jr. 

Is trom na tubaistean air na slibistean. 

Mishaps many fall on slovens. 

Is trom snithe air tigh gun tubhadh. 

Rain-drops come heavy on a house unthatched. 

Is truagli a' bhantrach a' pliiob. 

The hay pipe is a miser ahle widow. 

Pipers have generally been very imjirovident. 

Is truagh nach bu cheaird sinii gu leir an diugh. 

'Tis a pity ive were not all tinkers to-day. 

Said by Alexander MacDonell, son of Colla Ciotach (Colkitto), 
after having received great help in a fight from an Atholl tinker 
named Stewart. 

Is truime 'clmead na 'n eallach. 
Tlie groan is heavier than the load. 
Is tu fhein a tliòisich an toiseach, mar 'thuirt an 
t-amadan ris an tarbh. 

You hegan it yourself, as the fool said to the htdl. 

The story is that a fool was passing through a field where a 


hull was pasturing, and hearing him growling, b^gan to mimic 
him, which naturally excited the bull to give him chase, bellowing 
furiously. The fool was clever enough to get over a dyke just in 
time, and then, safe behind the wall, he addressed the bull as 
above. The Lowland version, which I have heard told in Gal- 
loway of a baronet, is, ' Boo to yirseV I Who begoo'd it ? ' 

Is tu thilg a' clilach air a' chaisteal ! 
What a stone you threvj at tlie castle ! 
Said ironically, when some small person hits his superior. 

Is uaine fiar na faiche a 's fàsaiche. 
Green is the grass of the least trodden field. 
Is uaisle toll na tuthag. 
Hole is genteeler than patch 

Per con. Is mios' an cliid na 'n toll — The clout is v:orse than 
the hole. See ' Is fhearr breid '. 

Is uasal a blii 'n ad shiiidhe, 'n ad ruitli. 
It's nolle to he sitting and running. 
Said of driving in a carriage. 

Is uasal mac an an-uasail an tir nam mèirleach ; is 
an-uasal mac an uasail, mur bi e trèubhach. 

The lovdy-born is a gentleman among thieves; the 
gentleman's son is no gentleman, if he be not brave. 

A very characteristic sentiment. 

Is ùrachadh atharrachadh. 

Change is refreshing. 

Caghlaa obbyr aash — Change of ivork is ease. — Manx. 

Isean deiridh linne, cinnidh e no tlieid e dholaidh. 

The last chicken of a brood comes to either grief or good. 

In the case of the more prolific lower animals, the last of a 
brood or Litter is generally the weakest. It is not so, however, 
with the youngest offspring of the higher animals, especially ot 
human beings. But the youngest is sometimes spoiled by petting. 

Itli do leòr, 's na pòc dad. 

Bat your fill, and i)ocket nothing. 

Eat yir fill, but pouch nane, is gairdener's law. — Scot. 

Ith na 's Ingha, 's ceannaich e. 

Eat less, and hug it. 

Lay yir wame to yir winnin'. — Scot. 

Itbeadh na goiblire air an nathair. 

The goat's eating of the serpent. 

It is believed, in some parts of the Highlands, that goats eat 


serpents, and that they eat them tail foremost, first stampincj on 
the head. It is said that while the goat is thus enga<ied, it utters 
a querulous noise, not liking the wriggling of the adder. A verse 
in reference to this is, 

Cleas na goibhre 'g ith' na nathrach, 

'G a sior-itheadh, 's a' sior-thalach. 

The goafs trick with the serpent, 

Eating away, and still complaining. 
Be this as it may, it is positively affirmed by persons of experience, 
that serpents disappear where goats pasture. 

Itheadh nan con air a' bhlianaich. 
The dogs' eating of the carrion. 
For want of any better. 

Itheam, òlam, caidileam. 
Let me eat, let me drink, let me sleep. 
Quite a Carlylean saying, supposed to be uttered by one of the 
'fruges consumere nati'. 

Ithear cruach 'n a breacagan, 
A stack can he eaten in cakes. 

Ithear na cruachan mora, 's nitear leis na cruachan 

The little stacks will do vjhen the hig ones are eaten. 
By that time the new corn will be nearly ripe. 

Ithidh a cheann a chasan dheth. 
His head will eat his feet off. 

This is like the common saying about an idle horse eating his 
head off. It might refer also to human beings. 


Là a' blilàir 's math na càirdean. 
Friends are good on the day of battle. 
La air mhisg, 's la air uisge. 
To-day drunk, to-morrow on water. 
La er meshtey, as la er ushtey. — Manx. 

La biiain an lin. The day of lint-rea'ping. 
Nevermas, lint being never cut, but plucked up. 

La buidhe Bealltainn. 
Yellovj May-Day. 

La Fheill-Brighde bàine, bheir na cait an connadh 

On fair St. Brides day the cats vjUI briny home the 

Another saying, apparently better founded, associates this with 
St. Patrick's day, about which time (17th March) the weather is 
generally dry, compared \\ith Candlemas. 

The ^lanx ' Laa '1 Breeshy bane ' corresponds with the above. 

La Fheill-Brighde thig an ribhinn as an toll; cha 
bhean mise dha'n ribhinn, 's cha bhean an ribhinn riùm. 
On St. Bride's day the nymph will come out of the hole: 
I ^von't touch the nymph, and she won't touch me. 
Al. Seachdain roimh Fheill-Brighde, 
Thig nigh'n lomhair as an torn ; 
Cha bhi mise ri nigh'n lomhair, 
'S cha mho 'bhios nigh'n lomhair rium. 
A iveeic before St. Bride's Day Ivor's daughter will come out of the 
knoll; I won't molest her, and she won't hurt me. 

The ' ribhinn ' and ' nigh'n lomhair ' are both euphemistic or 
deprecatory names for the adder ; the one known in Skye, the 
other in Rannoch. A lady called 'Nighean lomhair,' wife of 
John M'Kenzie, constable of Eilean-Donnam Castle, was suspected 
of having poisoned there (1550) John Glassich of Gairloch, who 
claimed the Kintail estates. This may possibly have given rise 
to the application of her name to the serpent. Another version is 
' an niomhair,' the venomous one. 


La Fheill-Eòin a 's t-Samhradh, theid a' chubhag gu 
'tigh Geamhraidh. 

On Si. John's day in Swniiner, the cuckoo goes to her 
winter home. 

St. John's day, 24th June. 

La Fheill-Eòin, their iad aighean ris na gamlma. 

On St. Johns day they call the stirlcs heifers. 

St. John's day is ordinarily called Feill-Eathain, as the M'Leans 
are called Clann-Ill-Eathain, a mere phonetic spelling of Euirij or 
Iain, John, or Ian. 

La Fheill Math-Cheasaig bidh gach easgann torrach. 

On St. KessocJc's day, every eel is pregnant. 

St. Kessock's day is 21st March. Fairs named after this saint 
are still held at Callander and at Cumbrae, on or about that 
date. Kessock Ferry at Inverness is also named after him. 

In the MS. Collection of Ewen MacDiarmid, mentioned in 
the Preface, of which the present editor has had the beneht, the 
word 'easan,' little waterfall, is substituted for ' easgann'. This is 
intelligible, though the use of the word ' torrach ' as applied to 
water is anomalous. The reference to eels is more singular, that 
fish being of ill-repute in the Highlands. The fresh-water eel, in 
particular, is never eaten in Scotland, though at one time it ap- 
pears to have been largely vised as an article of diet. See Innes's 
Scotland in the Mid. Ages, p. 124. I have been unable to get any 
scientific information as to the spawning time of eels. 

La Luain. The moon-day. 

Another version of Nevermas, or the Greek Kalends. 

La sheachnaidh na bliadhna. 

The day of the year to be avoided. 

Armstrong (Did.) says this term was applied to the 3rd of 
May ; others say the 2nd, others the 5th. It was held unlucky 
to begin any important work, and unpardonable to commit any 
crime, on that day ; for the extraordinary reason that on that day 
the fallen angels were beUeved to have been expelled from Heaven. 

Laideann aig na gabhraibh, tuigeim ged nach labhraim. 

Goat-Lcdin I can understand, lut speak not. 

Al. aig na gadhraibh — Dog-Latin. 

Said of people who pretend to know and say more than the 
hearer understands. It may possibly have been first applied to 

Laidhe fada air taobh tighe duin' eile. 

Lying long in another man's house. 

Laidhe leis an t-sùil, 'us falbhan leis a' ghliin. 

Lie still with a{sorc)eye,and move about with a{sore)knee. 


Laidhidh dubh air gach dath, ach cha laidli dath air 

Blach ivill lie on aivj colour, hut none other icill lie on 

See ' Cha chaochail '. It appears now that this old belief is 
not correct, and that black will take more than one other dye, 
such as brown and green. 

Lair chaol-chasach agus each bonn-chasach. 
A slender-legged mare, and a stout-legged horse. 

Làmh ann an earball a' ghill. 
Holding the jjledge hy the tail. 

Làmh 'an ceann bo maoile. 
Holding a hornless cow by the head. 

Làmh d' athar 's do sheanar ! 

By the hand of your father and grandfather ! 

Properly, ' Air làmh,' &c. Martin in his Western Islands (2d 
Ed., p. 120), says this form of adjuration was considered very 
insulting. It would be more correct to say that it was an insult 
to be thought capable of disregarding it. 

Another form, 'Làmh d' athar 's do sheanar ort !' is used as a 
threat ; and a story is told of its application by a blacksmith, who 
strongly suspected that his wife's baby was a changeling, and 
satisfactorily proved it. He came in one day exclaiming, 'An 
sithean ri 'theine !' The Fairy is on fire ! on wliich the little imp, 
thrown off his guard, cried out, 'O m' òrd 's m' innean !' my 
hammer and anvil ! The smith now .saw that the creature was 
not only a Fairy, but a fellow-craftsman ; and taking him out to 
the smithy, placed him on the anvil, and swinging his big hammer, 
said, ' Gobha mi fhein, gobha m' athair, gobha mo sheanair ; 's 
làmh d' athar 's do sheanar ort ! an t-ord mor !' — Smith am I, 
smith ivas my father, smith my grandfather ; thyfather^s and gravd- 
father's hand on thee ! the big hammer ! Before the hammer could 
descend the little sprite vanished, and when the smith returned 
home, he found his own true and pretty child sitting cosily at 
the fireside ! 

Apparently another version of this saying is, ' Làmh a thart, 
tart do sheanar dhut !' 

Làmh fhad', agus cead a sineadh. 
A long arm, and leave to stretch it. 

Lamhan leinibb, agus goile seann-duine. 

The hands of a child, and an old man's stomach. 


Làn beòil de bhiadli, 'us làn baile de nàire. 

A mouthful of meat, and a tow )i-(ov farin- )fd of shame. 

Làn duirn de shògh, agus Ian baile de nàire. — Ir. 

A mouthfu' o' meat may be a tounfu' o' shame. — Scot. 

Supposed to allude to a stolen egg. 

Laogli buabhall-an-doiuis. 
The calf of the door -stall. 
Likely to be first attended tc. 

Lasair creathaich 'us eigheach caillich. 
Brushwood fame, and the cry of an old woman. 
Both easily excited, and soon over. 

Le muinneal na cuing a bhristeadh bheir thu misneach 
do fhear na li-airce. 

Breaking the neck of his yoke will encourage the man 
in distress. 

Leac 'us ùir eadar sinn ! 
Stone and earth divide us ! 

Said of those whom one would wish to be separate from, even 
in the grave. 

Leagliaidh a' choir 'am bial an anfhainn. 

Justice melts in the mouth of the feeble. 

Leagbaidh am bròn an t-anam bochd. 

Sorrow melts the miserable. 

Lean gu dlùth ri cliù do shinnsre. 

Follow close the fame of your fathers. 

This is supposed to be Ossianic, — said by Fingal to Oscar. 

Leanaidh blianach ris na sràbhain. 

Bad flesh sticks to strcnvs. 

Applied, says Macintosh, to mean or worthless people who 
cleave to each other. 

Al. Leanaidh a' bhi ris a' bhòrd, 's an sop ris an sgait — The 
sap will stick to the wood, and the straw to the skate. 

Leathan ri leathan, 'us caol ri caol. 

Broad to broad, and small to small. 

Caol le caol, agus leathan le leathan. — Ir. 

This is an old rule of Gaelic orthography, devised by Irish 
grammarians, and in modern times upheld by some as of absolute 
authority, by others denounced as inconvenient and vicious. 
The broad vowels are a, o, u, the slender e, i, and the rule is, that 
where a consonant intervenes, a broad or narrow vowel must be 
followed by one of the same kind ; e.g., ' leathan,' instead of 


'leathin,' which would better represent our pronunciation; while 
the comparative degree of the same word is v/ritten, not 'leathne' 
nor ' leithna,' but ' leithne '. For an explanation and discussion 
of this rule, see Stewart's Gaelic Grammar, Part I., sect. 3 ; and 
for citation of the authorities on both sides, see Bourke's Irish 
Grammar, pp. 16-20. 

Leig an t-earball leis a' chraicionn. 

Let the tail go loith the hide. 

Shegin goaill ny eairkyn marish y shea (seiche) — The horns 
must be taken with the hide. — Manx. 

Let the tail follow the skin. Let the horns gang wi' the hide. 

Leig do cheann far am faigh thu 's a mhaduinn e. 
Lay your head where yon II find it in the morning. 

Leig fad na teadhracli leis. 
Let him have his tether's length. 
Give him rope enough. 

Leig troimh na meòir e. 

Let it through the fingers. 

Leigear cudthrom na slait air an sgòd. 

The weight of the yard will he on the sheet. 

Leigheas air leth, losgadh. 

Burning is a sbigvlar cure. 

The technical term for the actual cautery is leigh-losgadh. 

Leigheas air siiilean goirt. 

A cure for sore eyes. 

Lèintean farsainn do na leanban òga. 

Wide shirts to young bairns. 

BarniS vex, en brokin ekki — Bairns wax, but the breeks don't. — 

The moral significance of this, in favour of freedom of thought 
to new generations, is remarkable. 

Leisgeul arain gu ith' ime. 

The excuse of bread for eating butter. 

Leisgeul duine 's e air dram. 

The excuse of a tipsy man. 

Leth na Galldachd ort ! 

Half the Lowlands be upon thee ! 

Al. dhut — to thee. 


Lèum an gàradh far an ìsl' e. 

Leap the dyke vjhere it is loicest. 

Every ane loups the dyke where it's laighest. — Scot. 

Where the hedge is lowest, men may soonest over. — Eng. 

Waar de hegge het laagste is, wil elk er over. — Dutch. 

Ou la haie est plus basse on saute dessus. — Fr. 

Leum chasa tioram. A dry foot jump. 
Lianar beam mhor le clachan beaga. 
Great gaps Trmy he filled vjith small stones. 

Lianar long le sligean. 

A ship may he loaded with shells. 

Lionn-d^^bll air mo chridhe. Melancholy on my heart. 

Lit. Black humour. 

Loisgidh sinu na cruachan mora, 's foghnaidh na cru- 
achan beaga. 

TVe shall hum the big stacks, and the little ones will 

This refers to peat-stacks. 

Lon tuathair, 'iis sguabach dheisear. 
Meadow facing north, corn facing south. 
The best exposure for each crop. 

Losgadh do chridhe ort ! Heart-hurning to thee ! 

Losgadh sona, 'us losgadh dona. 

Lucky hurning and unlucky hurning. 

Luath no mall g'an tig am ]\Iàigh, thig a' chnbhag. 

Late or early as May comes, so comes the cuckoo. 

Luathas a 's fhaisge air a' mhaille. 

Speed that's nearest to slovmess. 

Raw haste, half sister to delay. — Tennyson. 

Lùb am faillean, 's cha 'n artlaich a' chraobh ort. 
Bend the twig, and the tree wont defy you. 

Luchd a' chrùin 'dol thun a cheapa, 's luchd a clieapa 
thun a' chrùin. 

Crowned heads go to the sod, and tillers of the soil to 

See I. Saìì., ii. 7, 8 ; and Luke, i. 52. 

Luchd nan casag. The long -coated folk, 


Ludh an spioraid, 'dol timchioll iia drochaid. 

Tlie way of the ghost, going round the hridge. 

Macintosh's translation of this saying, which Armstrong also 
gives, is, 'Go about the bridge as the ghost did'. The super- 
stition here referred to is illustrated in Tarn o' Shanter, where 
the infernal pursuers have no power to go beyond the key- 
stone of the bridge. Another saying is, ' Thainig mi mu'n cuairt, 
cleas a'bhòchdain' — / ccnne round about, the ghosfs trick; in refer- 
ence to which the following story is told. A certain man was 
haunted by a ghost, which met him wherever he went, so that he 
became known in the country-side as ' Donull ^lor a' bhòchdain ' 
— Big Donald of the ghost. Weary of his life, he went away to 
America, hoping there to be rid of his tormentor — but in vain. 
The very night of his arrival, the first person he met in the streets 
was his old friend. He cried out in amazement, ' Ciamar a thainig 
thus' 'an seo V — Hov) did you come here ì ' Thainig mi mu'n cuairt,' 
said the imperturbable ghost. Donald in disgust returned home. 

Ludh an t-sneaclida — 'tigliinn gun sireadh, gun iar- 

The way of the snow, coming unsought, unasked. 

Al. Mar a thainig a' ghaillionn a's t-Fhoghar, gun sireadh, &c. 

As the storm came in Autumn, unsought, (be. 

Thig se gan iarraidh, mur thig a do-aimsir. — Ir. 

Luibh Chaluim-Chille, gun sireadh gun iarraidh, 's a 
dheòin Dia cha bhàsaich mi 'nochd. 

St. Columhas ivort, unsought, tmaskcd, and please God, 
I ivon't die to-night. 

Said by children on unexpectedly finding this flower, called 
in English St. John's wort. 

Lus Phàra Iia, cuiridh e 'ghoimh as a' chnaimh. 
Orey St. Patrick's wort (grundsel) will drive pain from 
the hone. 


Ma bheir tliu Muile clhiom, cha toir thu rnuir 'us 
tir dliiom. 

You may take Mull from me, hut you can't take sea 
and land from, me. 

Ma bheir tliusa dhomhsa dealg fhraoich, gun dliatli 
dhubh, gun ghaoid, bheir mise dhutsa buaile de chrodh 
geal maol. 

If you give me a heather pin ivithout Hack or flaw in 
it, I'll give you a fold of white hornless cows. 

Ma bhios taod agad, gheabh thu each. 
If you have a halter, you'll get a horse. 

Ma bhristeas bun-feann, bidh fios aig do cheann, co 
dhorchaich an toll. 

If the tail breaks, your head ivill know ivho darkened 
the hole. 

The story is that two men went to a wolf's den, when wolves 
still floiu'ished in Scotland, for the purpose of carrying off the 
whelps. The den was in a cairn with a narrow entrance, 
through which one of the men crept in while the other stood on 
guard outside. Presently the yelping of the young ones called 
their mother to the rescue, and she bolted past the man outside, 
who was dexterous enough, however, to seize her by the tail 
while she v.-as disappearing. So they stood, the she-wolf blocking 
the entrance and darkening the den, while the man outside held 
on like grim death. The man within finding the light suddenlj^ 
obscured, called out to his companion, 'What's that darkening 
the hole ' ? To which the reply was made as above. See Camp- 
bell's W. H. T., Vol. I., 273, for a Sutherland version of this story. 

Ma bhuaileas tu cù no balach, buail gu math e. 
If you strike a dog or a cloum, hit him ivcll. 
See ' Balach '. 

Ma chaidh i do 'n allt, cha b' ann le clùd nan soith- 

If she ivent to the hum, it tvas not with the dish-clout. 


Ma chuaidh si chun a srotha, ni leis a dis-cleàd. — Ir. 

In a note on this in 2nd Ed. of Macintosh, it is said to be used 
as an apology for a woman's going astray with a gentleman. Mr. 
MacAdam in his note on the Ulster version, says it is applied to 
such women, when they make a good marriage unexpectedly. 

Ma cheannaicheas tu feòil, ceannaich feòil laoigh, 's 
ma clieannaicheas tu iasg, ceannaich iasg sgait. 

If you buy meat, buy veal, and if you buy fish, buy 

This is said to mean that you will get a good bargain in weight, 
as the bone in veal is soft, and that of skate is eatable. 

Al. Ma tha iasg a dhith orm, cha 'n iasg leam sgat — If I want 
fish, skate is no fish to me. 

The Highland prejudices against certain meat and fish are 
sometimes very absurd. The skate is most unjustly undervalued 
by the natives of the western coasts of Scotland. 

Ma cheannaicheas tu rud air nach 'eil feum agad, 's 
eudar dhut 'an ùine ghoirid do ghoireas a reic. 

If you buy what you don't need, you'll soon have to sell 
what you do need. 

Ma chuireas tu do làmh 'am bial a' mhadaidh, feum- 
adh tu 'toirt as mar a dh' fhaodas tu. 

If y-ou put your hand in the hoimd's mouth, you mus . 
take it out as best you can. 

Ma chumas tu do dhubhan fliuch 'an còmhnaidh, 
gheabh thu iasg uair-eigiu. 

If you keep your hook alvjays wet, you'll get a fish some 

Ma dh' èir'eas dut a bhi air d' aineol, 

Na cuir earbs' 'an còmhradh banail ; 

Mar a 's fhaide ni thu 'n leanail, 

'S ann a 's mo a theid do mhealladh. 

If you chance on foreign 2-)arts, 

Do not trust in female talk ; 

The longer after them you follow, 

The more you'll be cheated, holloiv. 

l\Ia dh' fhadaidh thu 'n teine 'n ad uchd, altrum e, ge 
duilich leat. 

If you kindled the fire in your breast, nurse it, though 
you like it not. 


Ma dli'fhalbh an t-ian, faodaidli an nead a dliol 'n a 

If the hird he flown, the nest may hum. 

Ma dli'innseas duine na's leir dha, iunsidh e na's nar 

If a man tell all he sees, he'll tell ivhat taill shame him. 

Qiiien acedia por agujero, ve su duelo — JVho jpeeps through a 
hole will discover his dole. — Span. 

Ma giieabh duin' idir rud, 's e firionnach falbliaiteach. 

If anijhody can get anything, it's the man that hcci)s 

Ma mharblias tu beathadi Dihaoine, bidh ruith na 
h-Aoin' ort am feasda. 

If you hill a heast on Friday, the Friday fate vAll follow 
you for ever. 

Ma ni tbu piobaireaclid do Mliac-'Ille-Cbalum, ni 
thu piobaireadid dliòmbsa. 

If you pipe to MacLeod of Raasay, you u^ill i^ipe to me. 

This is apparently a Skye saying, but its origin has not been 

Ma ruitbeas an sionnacb 'am broilleach a' ghadbair, co 
aig' 'tba 'cboire ? 

If the fox rush into the hound's emhrace, who is to 

Ma 's àill leat a bbi buan, gabh deoch gu luatb an 
deigb an uibbe. 

If you wish to lire long, drink quickly after an egg. 

After an egg drink as much as after an ox. — Eny. 

Ma 's beag leat e, crath sonas air. 
If you deem it little, shake luck on it. 

Ma 's beag mo cbas, cba mbò mo chuaran. 
If small my foot, my sock is no higger. 
Ma 's bonnacb brist' e, is bonnach itbt' e. 
A hroken hannock is as good as eaten. 
See ' Cha blii bail '. 

Ma 's briag bbuam e, is briag h-ugam e. 
If it he a lie from me, its a lie to me. 
This is a favourite expression, when one has something to tell 
which is not well vouched. 



Ma 's ceòl fidileireachd, tlia gu leòir againn deth. 

If fiddling he music, toe have enough of it. 

This was said by the famous harper, Rory Morrison (See App. 
II.), after having had to endure the performance of all his favourite 
airs by a fiddler, whose instrument he naturally looked on as a 
contemptible si^ueaking thing. ' Fidileireachd ' expresses more 
contempt than the ordinary ' fidhleireachd '. 

Ma 's dubh, ma 's odhar, ma 's donn, is toigh leis a' 
ghobhair a meann. 

Be it black, or dun, or hroivn, the goat loves her kid. 

j\la 's dubh, ma 's odhar, nà donn, is da meannan fèin bheir a 
gabhar a fonn. — Ir. 

Ma 's duine 'tlia 'n seo, 's aotrom e, mu'n dubhairt an 

// this be human, its light, as the ivater -horse said. 

The story is that the water-horse came in the shape of a young 
man (riochd fleasyaich) out of his native element, and sat down 
beside a girl who was herding cattle on the banks of the loch. 
After some plea-sant conversation, he laid his head in her lap, in a 
fashion not unusual in old times, and fell asleep. She began to 
examine his head, and to her alarm, found that his hair was full 
of sand and mud. She at once knew that it was none other than 
the ' Each-U isge,' who would certainly conclude his attentions by 
carrying her on his back into the depths of the loch. She accord- 
ingly proceeded, as dexterously as she could, to get rid of her 
skirt, leaving it under the head of the monster. Xo sooner did 
he awaken than he jumped up and shook the skirt, crying out 
several times, ' Ma's duine 'tha 'n seo,' &c., then rushed down the 
brae, and plunged into the lake. 

Ma 's fearail tliit, na biodh gruaim ort. 
If you are mainly, don't he gloomy. 
A very good sentiment. 

Ma 's fliiacli an teachdaire, 's fliiach an gnothach. 

If the messenger he worthy, the business is. 

Al. Ma 's fiù an gille, 's flu an gnothach. 

The embassy is judged of by the quality of the ambassador. 

Ma 's lite dhut i, cha mhor leat i. 

If if s porridge to you, it's not much to you. 

This is one of the few specimens of Gaelic puns, and a fair one. 
A young man in Lochaber went to woo a young giil called MOr, 
Marion. The lather entertained him hospitably, and after dimier 
proposed a smoke, saying, 'Gabhaidh sinn a uis am biadh a 
ghabhas os cionn guch bidh — We'll now have the food that goes 


above all food'. 'An e sin an lite ]' said the stupid young man— 
' Do you mean porridge?' The father, disgusted by his stupidity, 
made the above reply, indicating that Marion was not for him. 

Ma 's math an t-each, 's math a dhreach. 

If the horse he good, his colour is good. 

A bep liou marc'h mad. — Breton. 

A good horse cannot be of a bad colour. — Eng. 

Ma 's math leat do mholadh, faigh has ; ma's math leat 
do chàineadh, pòs. 

If you luish to he praised, die ; if you wish to he de- 
cried, marry. 

This is a shrewd saying, neatly expressed. 

Ma 's math leat sith, càirdeas, agus cluain, — eisd, faic, 
'us fuirich sàmhach. 

If you wish peace, friendship, and quietness, listen, look, 
and he silent. 

Ma's maith leat siochaint, cairdeas, a's moladh, eisd, faic, a'.s 
fan balbh. — Ir. 

Audi, vide, face, si vis vivere in pace. — Lat. 

Odi, vedi, e taci, se vuoi viver in pace. — Itul. 

Oy, voy, et te tais, si tu veux vivre en paix. — Fr. 

Ver, oir, y callar, si quieres vivir en paz. — Span. 

Ouve, ve, e calla, se queres viver em paz. — Port. 
He that would live in peace and rest. 
Must hear, see, and say the least. — Eng. 

]\Ia 's olc a' phiobaireachd, cha'n fhearr a duais. 

If the piioing he had, the pay is no hctter^ 

Ma 's olc am fitheach, cha 'n fhearr a chomunn. 

If had he the raven, his company is no better, 

Myr 's doo yn feeagh, yiow eh sheshey. — Manx. 

Ma 's olc an leanabh, cha 'n fhearr a luasgadh. 

If the child he had, his rocking is no hetter. 

Ma sheallas bean air a glùn toisgeal, gheabh i leisgenl. 

If a woman hut looh on her left knee, she will find au 

Is foisge do bhean leithsgeal nà bràiscin — A womayi's excuse is 
nearer her than her apron. — Ir. 

Ma tha Dia ann, 's cha 'n 'eil fhios a bheil, fag eadar 
sinn fhein 's na biodagan ! 

If there he a God, and no one knows luhether there he, 
leave it hetioeen ourselves and the dirks ! 

The fervent prayer for fairplay of an old Highland heathen on 
the eve of a fight. 


Ma. tha mise truagli, 's e mo tliruaighe INIac Aoidh ! 
If I am miserahle, woes me for Mackay 1 

Ma tha mo chuid airgid anns a'chapuU, thig e dhach- 
aidh uair-eigin. 

If my money is in the mare, it toill come home some day. 

]\Ia tlia thii coma, dean comaidh ris a' mhuic. 

If you don't care, go and share with the soio. 

Every man to his taste, as the man said when he kissed his 
cow. — Eng., Scot. 

Ma tha thusa na d' fhear-ealaidh, duinneamaid annas 
do làimhe. 

If you are a man of skill, let its hear your master-piece. 

Ma theid gus an teid, theid fear an t-sior-ghalair. 

Whoever goes or does not go, the man of long disease 

]\Ia tha 'n long briste. cha 'n 'eil a' chreag slàn. 

If the shij) he broken, the rock is not ivhole. 

Ma their mi fhein ' Mach thu!' ri m' chù, their a' h-uile 
fear e. 

If I say ' Get out!' to my dog, everybody unll say it. 

Ma thuiteas clach leis a' ghleann, 's ann 's a' chàrn a 
stadas i. 

If a stone fall doivn the glen, it's in the cairn it tvill 

Ma thuiteann cloch le fànaidh (slope), is annsa g-càrnan a 
stadaidh si. — Ir. 

Another case of ' like to like '. 

Mac Artair Srath-churra o bhun an stoc fhearna. 

Mac Arthur of Strachur, from the root of the odder. 

Strachur, on Loch Fyne, is said to have been the original seat 
of the Mac Arthurs. 

Mac bantraich aig am bi crodh, 
Searrach seann-làrach 'an greigh, 
Madadh muilleir aig am bi min, 
Triùir a 's meanmuaich' air bitk 
The son of a widow rich in coivs. 
The foal of an old mare in a herd, 
The dog of a miller rich in meal, 
Tiiree of the merriest things alive. 


Mac lUeathain Loch-a-Buidhe, ceann-nidlie nam mèirl- 

MacLaine of Loch Buy, the chieftain of thieves. 
This epithet is shared with another great Highland chief,. 
Camaronach bhog an ime, ceann-cinnidh nam mèirleach. 

Mac-Leòid no 'n t-airgiod. MacLeod or the money. 

MacLeod of MacLeod was once on a visit to Edinburgh, and 
was suddenly called away, learàig his servant behind him, with- 
out any money. The servant now found that nothing but 
MacLeod's note, or hard cash, would avail him anywhere. 

Mac mar an t-athair. Like father like son.. 
Al. Mac an daidein — Dad^s son. 
Mab diouc'h tad (Mac an deigh daidein). — Breton. 
Sic faither, sic son. — Scot. 

Mac màthaireil 's nigliean athaireil.. 

A son like the mother, and a daughter like the father. 

Al. Mac ri 'mhàthair, 's nighean ri h-athair. 

Maighdeann Sàbaid, 'us capuU Liùnasdail'. 

A Sahhath maiden, a.nd a Lammas mare. 

Al. Each Samhna, 's bean Dòmhnuich — A Hallow-Fair horse, 
and a Sunday toife. 

More showy at those times, and therefore not to be hastily 

Choose your wife on Saturday, rather than on Sunday.— Scof., 

Si quieres hembra, escogela el Sabado y no el Domingo. — S2mn. 

Maise nam bonnacli a bhi faisg air an teallaich. 

TJie beauty of bannocks is to be near the f re. 

Mam air an t-sac gun fheum. 

The handful heaped on the sack, ivhere it is not needed. 

Manadh do chrocliaidh ort ! 

The omen of your hanging to you I 

]\Iaor èolach, maor a 's mios' a theid 'an crò. 

A baUiff acquainted with the stock, the loorst to send 
among the flock. 

Maorach caillich Mhic Artair, partan 'us da fliaochaig. 

Old Mrs. MacArthur's shellfish, a crab and two ivilks. 

Mar a bha 'chailleach air Eoghan, a dheòin no 

Like the old ivoman upon Eiven, ivill he, nill he. 

See ' Ceum air do cheum ', 


Mar a blia gille mor nam hram — cha 'n flmirich e 
thall no bhos. 

Like the great windy lad — he won't stay there or here. 

Mar a bha 'n t-each ban 'an clorus a' mlmilinn — a' 
smaoineachadli tuilleadh 's a bha e 'g ràdh. 

Like the white horse at the mill-door, thinJcing more 
than he said. 

Al. Mar a bha 'n gamhainn 's an dorus, a' feitlieamh 's ag 
eisdeachd — Like the stirk at the door, waitiiig and listening. 

Mar a b' umhail gu 'm b' fhior. 

As foreseen, so has been. 

Mar a chàireas duine a leabaidh, 's ann a laidheas e. 

As a man snakes his bed, so he must lie. 

As you make your bed, so you must lie on it. — Eng., Scot. 

Comma on fait son lit, on se couclie. — Fr. 

Quien mala cama liace, en ella se yace. — jSjjart. 

Som man reder til, saa ligger man. — Dan. 

Mar a chaitheas duine a blieatha, bheir e breith air a 

As a man leads his life, so he judges his neighbour. 
Mar a' mhil air bhàrr nan cuiseag. 
Like honey on the top of the stalks. 

Mar a's àirde theid an caiman, 's ann a's dòch' an 
t-seobhag breith air. 

The higher the dove goes, the likelier is tlie hawk to 
catch it. 

Mar a 's f haide 'bhios sinn gu math, 's ann a's giorraid 
a bhios sinn gu h-olc. 

The longer we are well, the shorter will our illness be. 

Mar a's fhearr iad, cha'n ann a's buain' iad. 

The better they are, they live not the longer. 

God takes the good, too good on earth to stay, 
And leaves the bad, too bad to take away. 

Mar a 's gainn' am biadh, 's ann a 's fial' a roinn. 
Tlie scarcer the food, the onore bounty to share it. 

Mar a's luaithe a' ghaillionn 's ann a's cruaidhe 

The swifter the storm, the stronger it is. 


Mar a 's luglia 'theirear, 's ann a 's fhiisa leigheas. 
The least said, the soonest mended. — Eng. 

Mar a *s mo gheibh an cù, 's ann a 's mo a dli' iarras e. 
The more the dog gets, the more he desires. 

Mar a 's sine 'm boc, 's ann a's cruaidhe 'n adharc. 
The older the inick, the harder his horn. 

Mar a's truime 'n uallach, 's ann a's teinn' an crios- 
guailne ; mar a's teinn' an crios-guailne, 's ann a's luaithe 

The heavier the load, the tighter the shoulder-strap ; the 
tigther the shoidder -strap, the nearer to Ireaicing. 

Mar a theid an t-ian o dhuilleag gu duilleag, theid a' 
mianan o dhuine gu duine. 

As the bird goes from leaf to leaf, the yaivn goes from 
man to man. 

Al. Theid a' mianan, &c., mar 'theid an t-ianan o dhoire gu 

Mar a tlmiteas a' chraobh, 's ann a laidlieas i. 

As the tree falls, so shall it lie. 

In the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be. — EccL. xi. 3. 

Mar an crodli a' dol do'n bhuaile, cuid roniham 's cuid 
'am dheigh. 

Like the cattle going to the fold, some hefore me, some 
behind me. 

Mar astar doill 'an cabaraich, 
ISTo imeachd air garbh-leacaunan, 
]\Iar thatlminn gadhair 'an gleann fas, 
Tha teagasg dha na h-aineolaich. 

Like blind mam going through a vjood. 
Or walking on rough rocky slopes, 
Or bark of hound in desert glen, 
Ls teaching to the ignorant. 
Ni '1 acht tafan gadhair a n-gleann glas, a bheith tagradh le 
cionn gan eolus. — Ir. 

Mar cho-shogan ris a' cliuideachda, mar a chaidli an 
luid a dhannsa. 

For mirth to the company, as the slattern vjent to dance. 


Mnr dean mi spain, millidh mi adharc. 
Til make a spoon, or spoil a horn. 
He'll mak' a spune, or spoil a horn. — Scot. 

Mar dliobhran 'am bun iiisge, 
Mar sheobhag gu ian sleibhe, 
Mar chù gu cat, mar chat gu luclij 
Tha bean mic gu 'màthair-cheile. 

Like otter at a river-mouth, 
Like hawk to viountain hird, 
Like dog to cat, like eat to mouse, 
The son's vnfe is to his mother. 

Mur faigh fear d' a dliùthaicli, 's math leis a bhi ma 

If a man caii't get to his country, it's good to he in sight 
of it. 

]\'Iar fhear air chàrn. 

Like a man on a cairn. 

An outlaw. See ' Am fear nach meudaich '. 

Mar Fionn nam buadh, na fliasgadh do shluagh na 

Like peerless Fingal, a shelter to the Feinne. 

Mar gu'm biodh cearc air tòir nid. 
Like a hen in search of a nest. 

Mar gu'm biodh an teine air do chraicionn. 

As if the fire were on your skin. 

Dean sin mur a bheidheadh teine air do chraicionn. — Ir. 

Mar gu'm biodh e air a leaghadh, mar 'bha caman 

As if it had been cast in a moidd, like Nicol's club. 

Mar is miann le broinn, bruichear bonuach. 
As the belly craves, bannock will be baked,. 

Mar is toigh leis na gobhair na coin. 
As goats like dogs. 

Mar itheadh na goibhre air an dris. 
Like the goafs eating of the brier. 


Mar lus an Dòmlmuich, gun mhath, gun dolaidh. 

Like the Jierh plucked on Sunday, it does neitJier good 
nor ill. 

Mar mliart caol a tigli'n gu baile, tlia cabbanach na 
maiclne Earraicb. 

Like a lean coio coining to a farm, is the daivn of a 
Spring morning. 

Mar Oisean an clèigb na Fèinne. 

Like Ossian after the Feinne. 

The last of his race. 

Mar tbatbunn coin ris an re. 

Like dog's harking at the moon. 

Mur madadh a' tathfun an-aghaidh na gealaighe. — Jr. 

Mar tbig triubbas do 'n mbviic. 

As trews become a soiv. 

Like a sow playing on a trump. — Scot, 

Marbbaidb drocb ainm na coin. 

A had name kills dogs. 

Give a dog an ill name and hang him. — Eng., Scot. 

Marbb-pbaisg ort ! Death-ivrapping he on thee J 

Ma's til 'tb' ann, 's tu 'cbaidb as. 

Lf it he you, you are sadly changed. 

Quantum mutatus ab illo Hectore L — Virgil. 

If thou beest he, but O how fallen, how changed ! — Milton. 

Matb air seann-duine, math air feall-duine, 's matb 
air leanabb beag, tri matban caillte. 

Good done to an old man, good to a ivorthless man, good 
to a little child, three goods throuni away. 

One of the few objectionable sentiments found in these pro- 
verbs ; partly true, but unchristian. 

Meal 'us caitb e ! Enjoy and ivear it ! 

Meallaidb am biadb am fitbeacb bbo 'n cbraoibh. 

Food ivill lure the raven from the tree. 

Measar an t-amadan glic ma cbumas e 'tbeanga. 

The fool may pass for wise if he hold his tongue. 

Meatb am facal mu'n leig tbu macb e, 's cba cbuir e 
dragb ort fbein no air duin' eile. 

Weaken the word hefore you utter it, and it ivont troidjle 
yourself or any other. 


]\Ièinearaich bhog a' bhruthaist'. 
The soft brose Menzieses. 

'Bruthaist' is the original of the 'kale brose o' auld Scotland,' 
— oatmeal with boiling water poured on it, much used formerly 
in the Menzies district in Perthshire, ' Apunn nam Mèinearach '. 
A childish Fortingall rhyme is, 

Bruthaiste bog, 

Ga shuathadh le stob, 

Ga chur ann an gob 

Nam Mèinearach. 

Mhealladh e 'n t-ubh bho 'n cliorra-glilais, ged bhiodh 
a da shùil ag coimhead air. 

He ivoulcl cheat the heron of her egg, though her two eyes 
loere fixed on him. 

Ghoideadh se an ubh o'n chorr, a's a chorr fèin fa dheireadh. 

Al. Bheireadh e a sùilean nam feannag e — He would take it 
from the crows' eyes. 

Said of a very greedy person. 

Mhic an rath-dhorcha ! 

Son of the inoonless night ! 

' Rath-dorcha,' the dark or interlunar time. 

Mhic na greine ! Son of the sun ! 

]\[hill e troich 's cha d' rinn € duiue. 

He spoiled a dwarf and didn't make a man. 

Mi fhein 's nio bliean air a' bhradliaiu. 
My wife and I at the quern. 

Mianan bodaich air àiridh 's a shàth 'n a bhroinn. 
An old man's yawn on a hill-pasture after meat. 

Miananaicb, iarraidh gun fhaighinn. 
Yawning, ivishing and not getting. 

Miann a' chait 's an tràigh, 's cha toir e fhein aisd' e. 

The cat's desire is on the shore, tut she won't go for it. 

E fynai y gath byysgod, ond ni fynai wlychu ei throed. — Welsh. 

Catus araat pisces, sed non vult tingere pLintas. — Med. Lat. 

The cat would eat fisli, and woiild not wet her feet. — Eng. 

Letting ' I dare not ' wait upon ' I would,' like the poor cat i' 
the adage. — Macbeth, I. 7. 

La gatta vorrebbe mangiar pesci, ma non pescare. — Ital. Le 
chat aime le poisson, mais il n' aime pas à mouiiler la patte. — Fr. 


Miann an duine lochdaich, each iiile a bhi contraclid. 
The wicked man's desire, mischief to all others. 
Malus malum viilt, ut sit sibi similis. — Lat. 

Miann de mliianntan an iarrsalaich, cuibhrionn mlior 
de 'n bheagan. 

The wish above luishes of the cotctous, a great share of 
the little. 

Miann mnà mac, miann fir feachd ; 
Miann eich aonach, miann coin sneachd ; 
Miann bà braon, miann caora teas ; 
Miann goibhre gaoth, 's dol 'an aodann creig. 

A womccns desire a son, a man's desire a host ; 

A horse's desire a heath, a dog's desire snow ; 

A cow's desire a shoiccr, a sheejj's desire heat ; 

A goat's desire vAnd, and elimhing wp a crag. 
Ehyme is more considered than reason in some of these. 
Miann na maighdne aig a' chaillich. 
The maiden's desire in the old woman. 
See ' Nàire nam maighdean '. 

Mil fo thalamh, currain Earraicli. 
Underground honey, Spring carrots. 

Exceptional luxuries. The Spring-carrot is the root of the 
silver- weed, hrisgein, very palatable. 

Milleadh dàna, 'bhi 'g a ràdh far nach tuigear. 
Waste of song, reciting where not understood. 

Millidh aire iasad. Poverty destroys lending. 
MiUidh an ainnis an t-iasacht. — Ir. 

Wlia canna gie will little get.- — Scot. When ye are puir 
naebody kens ye ; when ye are rich a'body lens ye, — Do. 

Millidh an cleas thair fhichead am fichead cleas. 
Tlie twenty-first game may spoil the twenty. 
Millidh an t-srathair an t-each. 
The pack-saddle will spoil the horse. 
]\Iillidh aon leibid a' chuinneag. 
One little mishap) loill destroy the pail. 
INIiUidh aon oisg chlaimheach an trend. 
One scabby ewe will spoil the flock. 
See ' Salachaidh '. 


Millidh aon tarrang an t-each, 's millidli aon each an 

One nail tvill spoil the horse, and one horse spoil the 

Al. 'crann' for 'seisreach'. 

For want of a nail the shoe is lost ; for want of a shoe the horse 
is lost ; for want of a horse the rider is lost. — Eng. 

Por un punto se pierde un zapato. — Simn. 

Millidh bo bnaile, 's buairidh bean baile. 
One cow will spoil a fold, and one looman luill lead 
astray a town. 

Millidh dànadas modh. Forioardncss spoils manners. 
Al. Thig dànadas gu droch oilean. 

Millidh droch chomhluadar deadh bheusan. 

Evil compaMij corrupts good manners. 

This is a translation of Menander's <b6eipovcnv rjdrj XPW^' ò[j.i\iai 
KUKal, quoted by St. Panl in I. Cor. xv. 33. 

' Truaillidh ' for ' millidh ' is the word in the authorised Gaelic 

Min air iasad, itheadh na cruaiche fo'n t-sioman. 

Lent meal, eating the stack binder the rope. 

Consuming things before the time. 

Ministeir-maide. A wooden minister. 

Mionach a' bheathaich a 's maoile, air adhaircean a' 
bheathaich a 's bioraiche. 

The entrails of the blunter (hornless) least on the horns 
of the sharper one. 

MÌOS bho aon dels gu Ian deis, 'us mios bho Ian deis 
gu crion deis. 

A month from the first ear to the full car, and a 
month from theftdl ear to the withered ear. 

Mios 'chrochadh nan con. 

The dog-hanging month — Jtdy. 

Mios Faoillich ; seachdain Feadaig ; 

Ceithir-la-diag Gearrain ; seachdain Caillich ; 

Tri la Sguabaig — suas e 'n t-Earrach ! 

A month of the Stormy ; a week of the Plover ; 

A fortnight of the Gelding ; a week of the Old Woman; 

Three days of the Brushlet — up tvith the Spring ! 

For explanation of these terms see App. IV. 


^rìos roimh gach ràidh a clioltas. 
A month before each season, its a'ppearance comes. 
Apparently this is a correct observation. 
Mir 'am bial na beiste. A hitefor the monster's mouth. 
Ca&t a bane i' the deil's teeth. — Scot. 

This saying is probably founded on the story of the traveller 
and the wolves, whom he temporarily stopped by throwing out 
one thing after another. 

Mir a chur'am bial na h-eisge. 
A morsel for the lampooner's mouth. 
Mir' a' chuilean ris an t-seana-cliu. 
The play of the pup vnth the old dog. 
Al. ris an a.ois—with the aged. 
Chwarae hen gi a chenaw. — Welsh. 
Mire ri cuilean, clia sguir e gus an sgal e. 
Play with a puppy, it ends in a howl. 
Mire gach struidhear ris an t-struidhear mhor. 
The sport of every sjjcndthrift with the big spicndthrift. 
Misg gun lionn a 's miosa 'th' ann. 
Intoxication vAthout cde is the worst of all. 
Al. Misg an leanna nach d'òl e — The intoxication of the ale he 
drank not. 

The meaning seems to be that stupid or disorderly conduct, 
without the excuse of drink, is much worse. Ale, and not whisky, 
was the common stimulant when this saying arose. 
Mo cliomain-sa 's comain a' mhaoir, 
Do mo thaobli-sa bliiodh e gann ; 
Is math leis comain a null, 
Ach clia mhath leis comain a null 's a nail. 
TJie bailiff's favours and mine vjoiddbeall on one side; 
he likes to get, but not to give and take. 

This is attributed to John Morrison of Bragar (See note to 
' Balach '), with great probability. Another version, with ' comunn' 
for ' comain ' is, — 

Cha 'n ionann 'us comunn nam maor. 
Air an taobh-san nach bi fann ; 
'S e 'n comunn-sa tarruing a null, 
'S cha chomunn ach a null 's a nail. 
Very unlike the bailiff s fellowship. 
On their own side never iveak ; 
Draw all one way is their rule, 
And ^giff-gaff' is the only fellowship. 
Still another version is given in Duncan Lothian's ' Sean 
Fhocail ' q. v., p. 403. 


Mo chuid fliein, mo bheau fhein, 'us 'tiugainn daeli- 
aidh/ tri faclan a 's blaisde 'th' ami. 

My own 'pro'perty , my own wife, and ' come home , three 
of the sweetest of words. 

Al. Na trl rudan a's mllse 'th' ann— mo cliuid fliein, &c. 

Al. M' ulaidh, m' ulaidh ! mo chuid I'hein. 

Mxj treasure, my treasure ! my oim goods. 

Mo chuideacbda fhein, coin Thròtairnis ! 

3fy oicn friends, the dogs of Troternish !. 

See ' Is olc a fhreagradh tu '. 

Mo nàire 's mo leaghadh ! 

My shame and my melting I 

Mo thmaighe fear gun fhear-cronacbaidh I 

A las for him that has no reprover ! 

Mo thurus dubb a thug mi 'dh-Eirinn. 

My sad journey that took me to Ireland. 

Said in a story by a king's daughter, transformed into a swan. 

Modh na circe, gabhail ealla rithe. 

i7e?i politeness, letting her alone. 

Mol an latha math mu oidhche. 

Praise the good day at night. 

Moyle y laa mie fastyr (mufiieasgar). — Mavjc. 

Ruse the fair day at night. — Scot. 

Praise day at night, and life at the end. — Eng. 

La vita 11 fine e '1 di loda la sera. — Ital. 

Schonen Tag soil man loben, weun es Nacht ist. — Germ. 

Mol am monadh,'s na ruig e; diomoil a'choille's na fag i. 

Praise the inoor and avoid it, dispraise the wood, and 
keep to it. 

Al. Mol a' mhachair, 's na treabh ; diomoil a'choille 's na treig — 
Praise the flain, and i)lough it not, dec. 

Al. ' lombair,' for ' nionadh '. 

Praise the hill, Ijut keep below.— -Engf. 

Loda 11 mare e tienti alia terra. — It. 

II faut louer la mer et se tenir en terre. — Fr. 

Different, but creditable, is the Welsh saying, ' Canmol dy fro, 
a thrig yno ' — Praise thy country and tarry there. 

Moladh gach fear an t-àth mar a gheabh. 
Let every one praise the ford as he finds it. 
Moladh gach duine an t-ath mur gheabhaidh se e. — Tr. 
Moyll y droghad myr hen harrish. — Manx. Canmoled pob y 
bont a' i dyes ùxii\so—ÌVelsh. Praise the bridge as you get over. 
Ruse the ford as ye find it. — Scot. 


Moladh na maraig a fiachainn. 
The praise of the pudding is tasting it. 
Cruthughadh na putoige a h-ithe — The proof of the ■pudding is 
eating it. — Ir. 

The pruif o' a puddin' 's the preein' o't. — Scot. 

Moladh mairbh. TJie praise of the dead. 

De mortuis nil nisi bonum. — Lat. 

Moladh na daoidheachd. Praise from the worthless. 

Molaidh an t-each math e fhèin. 

T/ie good horse commends himself. 

]\Iollachd an fhir a ghoid air an fhear a dh' ionndrain 
— ' An làmh a rinn gun dean a rithis !' 

The curse of the thief against the man that missed his 
ovM — ' The hand that did it ivill do it again I ' 

Mòr a muigh, 's beag a's tigh. 

Great abroad, small at home. 

M6r bhuam, 'iis beag agam. 

Much thought of until got. 

Mor orm, 'us beag agam. 

Mighty to me, but little esteemed. 

Said of an offensively patronizing but not superior person. 

Moran gleogaireachd, 'us beagau gieidhidh. 

Much talk and little done. 

Moran sgalan, 's beagan oUainn, mu'n dubhairt Muisein 
's e 'lomaht na muice. 

Gi^eat erg and little wool, as the Devil said whe7i he 
sheared the sow. 

Gieat cry and little wool, quoth the Devil when he sheared his 
hogs. — Eng. 

Moran sliligean 's beagan bhiadhan. 
Many shells and little meat. 

Mu thionndadh na boise bidh a' chrois a tighinn. 
In the turning of the Jiand the mishap will come. 
Mult mnatha gun chaoraich, is saothrach a ghlacadh. 
The wedder of a woman without sheep is difficult to 

A I. 's e 's saoire gheabhteadh — would he cheapest got. 
Al. 's e 's faoilidhe 'th' ann— is the inost freely given. 


Mu'n cailleadh e buileach an t-iteach, bheireadh an 
t-ian a bliiodh glic ris an t-snàmh. 

The ivise hinl would take to swimming hefore he lost the 
]J0K-cr of flying. 

Mullach do bhaistidh. The top of your laptism. 
The forehead. 

Mur b'e an reodhadh, threabliteadli gach tir. 
But for the frost, all lands might he tilled. 

Mur b'e eagal an da mhail, bheireadh Tiridhe an da 

But for fear of douUe rent, Tiree icould yield a douUe crop. 
Very suggestive, and not confined to Tiree. 

Mur bhiodh ' Mur b'e,' cha bhiodh dume beò. 

But for ' Were it not,' no man would he alive. 

Si ce n' etait le 'Si' et 'Mais,' nous serious tous riches à 
jamais. — Fr. 

If ' Ifs ' an' ' Aus ' were pots and pans, where wud be the 
tinklers Ì — Scot. 

Mur bhiodh na suidheachan, thmteadh na tighean. 
But for the roof -supports, the houses would fall. 
This is used as a retort when some stupid ' If it weren't ' is 

Mur bi thu ris an olc, na bi coltach ris. 
If you are not doing ill, don't look like it. 
Abstain from all appearance of evil. — St. Paul. 

Mur biodh ' Mur-bhith ' marbh, 's fhada bho'n a 
thàinig e. 

If ' IVeix it not' were not dead, he would have come 
long ago. 

Mur 'eil thu air son goid mo chàil, na tig air sgath 
mo lios. 

If you are not coming to steal my kail, don't come for 
the sake of my garden. 

Al. Mur bi thu 'goid a' chaU, na bi air sgath an lios. 

Stealing kail-stocks out of a neighbour's garden was part of the 
recognised usages on Old New Year's Night. 

Mur bitheadh an dris 's an rathad, cha rachadh a' chaor' 

If the hrier were not in the way, the sheep would not 
go into it. 


Mur biodh mu 'n phoit ach Mac Sheoc 's an liadh 

If there loerc none about the pot hut Jock's son and the 


An aposiopesis. The omitted conclusion is, ' I should fare 

better then '. 

Mur biodh tu 'm sheomar clia'n fhaiceadh tu mo chuid. 

If you hadn't been in my chamber you wouldn't have 
seen my goods. 

This reminds one of Posthumus and lachimo in Gymbeline. 

Mur cluinneadh tu sin cha'n abradh tu e. 

If you hadn't heard that, you wouldn't have said it. 

Mur comas dut teumadh, na rùisg do dheudach. 

If you cannot bite, don't show your teeth. 

Na taisbean do fhiacal, 's an ait nach d-tig leat greim a l)haint 
a mach. — Ir. 

Ne'er shaw yir teeth, unless ye can bite. — Scot. 

Mur dean e lionn, millidh e braich. 

If he can't make ale, he'll spoil malt. 

Same as making a spoon or spoiling a horn. 

Mur 'eil e 'còrdadh riut, cha 'n 'eil e pòsda riut. 

If he doesn't please you, he is not married to you. 

Al. Mur 'eil mi, &c. 

Mur gu 'n tigeadh saighead a bogha. 

Like an arrow from a boiu. 

Mur h-e Bran 's e bhràthair. 

If it he not Bran, it's his brother. 

Bran was said to be Fingal's favourite hound. 

Mur tig ach Pal, gabhar Pal ; ach ma thig na's fliearr 
na Pal, cha'n fhiach Pal bonn-a-h-ochd. 

If none come but Paid, Paid will he taken , but if better 
come, Paul won't he worth a piece of eight. 

A piece of eight was less than a halfpenny. 

Mur tig an righ, nach fhuirich e. 

If the king wont come, let him stay. 

Mur toir thu 'chuid do 'n duine bhochd, na bi deanamh 
fochaid air. 

If you don't give the 'poor man his due, at any rate don't 
mock him. 

This seems a truism, but needs to be kept in mind. 



Na abair acli beag 's abair gu math e. 
Say hut little, and my it well. 

Na abair ' diug ' ris an ian gus an tig e as an ubli. 
Don't say ' chuck' to the chick till it he out of the egg. 
Al. Na abair big. 

Count not your chickens before they be hatched. — Eng. 
Non far conto dell' novo non ancor nato. — Ital. 

Na abair do shean-fliacal gus an toir thu do long gu 

Doììt quote your 2>T0verh till you hring your ship to 

Na àirearah a chaoidh an t-iasg gus an tig e as a' 

Never count the fish till they come out of the sea. 
Na beannuigh an t-iasg go d-tiocaidh se a d-tir. — Ir. 
Na bi 'bogadh do liob 's an lite nach òl thu. 
Don't he dipping your lip in the porridge you sup not. 

Na bi 'g a shireadh 's 'g a sheachnadh. 

Dont he seeking and shiinning it. 

An excellent advice to shilly-shallying people, of either sex. 

Na bi teann orm, 's na bi fada bhuam. 

Don't he near me, and don't he far from me. 

This was said by a Highland Catechist, the prototype of 
Lachunn-nan-Ceistean of Dr. MacLeod's Dialogues. On one occa- 
sion he went to Inverness, accompanied by his wife, whom he did 
not think sufficiently presentable in 'society'. The above was the 
characteristic direction given to her. 

Na biodh do theanga ann ad sporan. 
Zet not your tongue he in your purse. 
The meaning of this is not obvious at first, but it is good 


Na buail ach mar a bhiadhas tu. 
Bo7i!t strike hut as you feed. 
Strike as ye feed, and that's but soberly. — Scot. 
' A reproof,' says Kelly, ' to them that correct those over whom 
they have no power.' 

Na caill am màgh air a' chluain. 
Lose not the field for the meadoiv. 

Na creid an droch sgeul gus an dearbhar i. 
Believe Twt the had rejport till it he proved. 

Na creid gu'r h-aithne dhut duine, gus an roinn sibh 

Dont suppose that you know a man till you conie to 
divide a sjooil v:ith him. 

A very shrewd observation, applicable eq.ually in the 19th cen- 
tury, whether to potentates or private persons. 

Na cuir a mach an t-uisge salach. gus an toir thu 's tigli 
an t-uisge glan. 

Dont throvj the dirty water out till you hriny in the 

Na cuir an t-uisge salach a mach go d-tiubraidh tu an t-uisge 
glan a steach. — Ir. 

Cast na oot the dowed water till ye get the clean.— jScoi. 

Cast not out thy foul water till thou hast clean. — Eng. 

Man muss unreines Wasser nich eber wegiessen bis man reines 
hat. — Germ. 

Na cuir do chorran gun cliead ann an gead fir eile. 
Put not your sickle without leave into another mans 

Al. gart fir eile — another man's standing corn. 
Na cuir do chorran a n-gort gan iarraidh. — Ir. 

Na cuir do làmh eadar a' chlach 's a' sgrath. 
Don't put your hand 'tiuixt the stone ami the turf. 

Na cuir do spàia 'an càl nach buia dut. 
Dont put your spoon in kail that's not yours. 
Al. Na loisg do theanga 'an càl fir eile. 
Dinna scaud yir mou' wi' ither folk's kail. — Scot. 

Na cuir 'n am ruith le leathad mi, 
Na greas a' direadh bruthaich mi, 
'S na caomhain air a' chòmhnard mi. 


Don't make me run down a decline, 
Don't urge me going wp a hill, 
But spare me not on level ground. 
Up hill spare me ; 
Down hill bear me ; 
Plain way spare me not ; 
Let me not drink when I'm hot. — Scot. 
Excellent advice from a horse to his rider or driver. 
Na cumain blieag a' seòladh, 's na luingeas mhor a' 

Tlie little cogs sailing and the big ships sinking. 
See ' Is trie a bha na loingis '. 

Na dean bailc air iomaire math treabhaidli. 
Make no balk in good plough-land. 
Make not balks of good ground. — Eng. 
Mak nae banks in guid bear-land. — Scot. 
See ' Is fhearr leum-iochd '. 

Na dean tàir air na 's leat ; an ni nacli leat clia 'n e 
dli'flioghnas dut. 

Despise not what is your own; nothing else toUl suffice you. 
Lit. What is not your own will not be suiiicient for you, 

Na dean uaill a cuid duine eile. 
Boast not of another's means. 

Na deanadh duine tùirse, an earalas nach faigli e 

Let no man despond of hitting the mark. 

Na diobair caraid 's a charraid. 
Forsake not a friend iii the fray. 

Na dòirt e ; cha tog na cearcan e. 
Dont spill it ; the hens won't pick it up. 
Said of the spilling of drink. 

Na earb thu fhèin ri gràisg. 
Don't trust the rabble. 

The 'many-headed beast'. The maker of this Proverb may 
have read Plato, but it is not very likely. 

Na falbh Diluain, 
'S na gluais Dimàirt, 
Tha Diciadainn craobhaidh, 
'S tha Diordaoin dàlach, 


Dihaoine cha 'n 'eil e buadhach, 
'S cha dual dut falbh a màireach, 
Go not 2cpo7i Monday, 
Stir not wpon Tuesday, 
Wednesday is nervous, 
Thursday is dilatory, 
Friday is not fortunate, 
And 'tis not right for thee to go to-morrow. 
This is called ' Triall a' bhoclaich as a tliigh,' a wife's reasons 
for not letting her husband go away. Another version of the first 
part is, — 

Siubhal Dòmhnnich na toir bhuat, 
Diluain na eirich moch, 
lom-sgaradh Dimàirt, 
Leig seachad na tri làithean sin. 
ISTa feann am fiadh giis am faigh thu e. 
Don't sJcin the deer till you get it. 
First catch your hare. — Mrs. Meg Dods. 
N"a gabh te air bith mar mhnaoi, ach tè air am bi 
athais agad. 

Take no woman for a wife in ivhom you cannot find a 

Na gabh bean gan locht — Take no faultless wife. — Ir. 
This is an admirable saying, which I have not found in any 
other language. The Irish version is more laconic. 
He is lifeless that is faultless. — Eng. 

Na gearr do sgòrnan le d' tbeanga fhein. 
Cut not thy throat ivith thine oivn tongue. 
Take heed that thy tongue strike not thy neck. — Arab. 

Na gèill do gliis — cha gheill gis dhut. 

Don't give in to spells — tJiey loon't give in to you. 

Na innis do run do d' charaide gòrach, no do d' nàmh- 
aid glic. 

Tell not thy mind to thy foolish friend, nor to thy ivise 

Na innis d' uile inntinn do d' mhnaoi no do d' chomp- 

Tell not all your mind to your wife or your companion. 

Al. Na dean fear ruin dheth d' dhlùth chompanach. 

Trust ye not in a friend ; . . keep the doors of thy mouth 
from her that lieth in thy bosom. — AIicah vii, 6. 


He is master of himself who keeps his secret from his friend.-- 

Open not thine heart to every man. — Simch, VIII., 19. 
Que ta chemise ne sache ta guise. — Fr. 
Di' all' amico il tuo segreto, e ti terra il pie sul collo. — Ital. 
A quien dices tu puridad, a ese das ru libertad. — Sjum. 

Na ith am bonnach 'tlia briste, 's iia brist am bonnacli 
'tha si an. 

Don't eat the broken bannock, nor break the whole one. 
A story is told of a hungry servant-maid to whom her mistress 
gave the above order, when the girl told her, in the harvest field, 
that she was fainting for hunger. The mistress said, 
Theirig dhachaidh, 's ith do shàth, 
Na ith am bonnach 'tha briste, &c. 
Go home, and eat your Jill, 
Eat not the bannock that's broken, d:c. 
The girl thought she was justified in evading this prohibition, liy 
taking enough to appease her hunger out of the centre of the 
whole bannock. 

Na ith 's na ob cuid an leinibh bhig. 

Neither eat nor refuse the child's lit. 

Very good manners. 

Na'm b'e 'n diugh an dè ! 

Had to-day been yesterday ! . 

How often is this thought felt. 

Na'm b' Eileineacli mi gu'm b' Ileacli mi ; 's na'm b' 
Ileach mi, bu Eannach mi. 

Were I an Islander I should be an Isloy 7nan ; and 
vjcre I an Islay onan, I should be a Rinns man. 

This should comjjensate for the ill opinion of Islay men 
expressed in ' Cha 'n 'eil 'an cùil,' &c. The Rinns of Islay, like 
the Rinns of Galloway, is a low-lying and fertile tract of land, 
compared with the upper country. The Gaelic is ' Roinnean,' n. 
pi. of 'roinn,' of which gen. is 'ranna,' whence 'Rannach'. 

Na'm beireadh tu ubh, dheanadh tu gloc. 

If you laid an egg, you would cackle. 

Na'm biodh a' choir air a cumail, cha bhiodh Eigh 
Deòrsa 'n Lunnainn. 

If the right had been inaintained, King George had not 
in Londoii I'eigned. 

This is comparatively modern, but has the proper ring of a 
popular saying, now harmless. 


Na'm biodh an t-earball na bu rigline, bliiodh a' 
sgialachd ua b' fhaide. 

Had the tail been tougher, the tale would have been longer. 

This is the abrupt wind-up of a story, of which there are 
various versions, where the whole depends on the strength of the 
animal's tail, which gave way at the critical moment. See 
Campbell's JVest Highl. Tales, II. 477. The English admits of a 
play on words, which is not in the Gaelic. 

Na'rn biodh cugainn aig a' chat, 's trie a rachadh e g' a 

If the cat had standing milk, she would often go to try it. 
See ' Cha tig ce '. 

Na'm biodh mo chù cho olc ionnsachadh riut, b'e 'n 
ciad rud a dheauainn a chrochadh. 

If my dog were as ill-bred as you, the first thing I 
should do tvoiild be to hang him. 

If I had a dog as daft, I wud shoot him. — Scot. 

Na'n biodh na coin air do dhiot itheadh, 's air falbh le 
d' shiiipeir, cha bhiodh tu cho mear. 

If the dogs had eaten your dinner, and run off with 
your supper, you would not be so merry, 

Na'm bu bheò bu mhithich. 

If cdive, 'tivas high time. 

Said of one who appears, or does a thing, after long expecta- 
tion and delay. 

Na'm bu bhuan bu mhath. 
Good if it lasted. 

Na'm bu chaomh leat mi, bu bhinn leat mi. 
If you liked me you would like my voice. 

Na'm bu duin' eile gu'n deanadh, 's mise gu'n dioladh ! 

If another man had done it, it's I that ivoidd avenge it ! 

Said by a Giant, on being told by his son that Myself had hurt 
him, that being the name which the person gave him who inflicted 
the punishment on the innocent, and (as usual) stupid young 
Giant. For another version of the story, see Campbell's W. H. 
T., II. 189. 

Na'm bu mhac bu mhithich. 

If a son, 'twas high time. 

Applied to the birth of an heir long looked for. 


Na'ni bu toigli leat mi fhein cha bhuaileadh tu mo chù. 

If you liked myself, you would not strike my dog. 

See ' Am fear a bhuaileadh '. 

Love me, love my dog. — Eng. 

He that strikes my dog wud strike mysel', if he daur'd. — Scot. 

Qui aime Bertrand, aime son chien. — Fr. 

Chi ama me, ama il mio cano. — Ital. 

Na'm bu toigh leat mi, cha bu trom leat mi. 
If you liked me, you loould not think me heavy. 
Na'm bu tu Brian, b'àrd a ghoireadh tu. 
Were you Brian, you would cry out loudly. 
Na'm faigheamaid an t-im a's t-Earrach, 
'Us uachdar a' bhainne a's t-Samhradh, 
'S ann an sin a bliiomaid fallain, 
'S cha bliiomaid falamh de dh' annlann. 
If we could get butter in SjJring, and. cream in Summer, 
it's then %ve should he healthy, and well off for kitchen. 
A Highland housewife's sarcasm on unreasonable men. 
Na'm faighteadh ciad sagart gun 'bhi sanntach ; 
Ciad tàillear gun 'blii sunntach ; 
Ciad griasaich' gun 'bhi briagach ; 
Ciad figheadair gun 'bhi bradach ; 
Ciad gobha gun 'bhi pàiteach ; 
'Us ciad cailleach nach robh riamh air cheilidh ; 
Chuireadh iad an crùn air an righ gun aon bhuille. 
Were a hundred priests got, not greedy ; 
A hundred tailors, iiot cheery ; 
A hundred shoemakers, not lying ; 
A hundred weavers, not thievish ; 
A hundred blacksmiths, not thirsty ; 
And a hundred old ivomcn that never loent gossiping ; 
They ivoidd crown the king vjithout a blow. 
Ceathrar sagart gan a bheith sanntach, 
Ceathrar Frangach gan a bheith buidhe, 
Ceathrar grèusaiche gan a bheith breùgach, 
Sin da fhear dheùg nach b-fhuil 's a tir. — Ir. 
A hundred tailors, a hundred weavers, and a hundred millers, 
make three hundred thieves. — Eng. 

Cien sastres, cien molineros, y cien texederos son trecientos 
ladrones. — Span. 

Honderd bakkers, honderd molenaars, en honderd kleemiakers, 
zijn drie honderd dieven. — Dutch. 


Na mbealam mo shlàinte ! 

May I forfeit my health (or salvation) ! 

A form of abjuration. 

Na 'n deanadh mo làmh mar a dh' iarradh mo shùil ! 

If my hand could do as my eye ivould desire ! 

This might be the utterance of grasping ambition, but a better 
interpretation makes it the yearning of a true artist towards his 

Na 'n ruigeadh an daingeann an ceart. 

If the strong coidd attain the just. 

Which it seldom does. 

Na 'n sealladh cù air comain. 

If a dog could hut see his obligation. 

Al. Cha sheall cù air comain. Cha chuimhnich cii comain. 

None of these sayings do justice to the dog, which is a grateful 

ISTa 'n tugadh aitlireachas air ais, cha deanadh neach 
na b' aithreach leis. 

If repentance could restore, none would make his own 
heart sore. 

Na ni am bodach le 'chrògan, millidh e le 'spògan. 

What the carl does with his hands he spoils with his feet. 

See ' An rud a ni '. 

Na phiuthair-màthar do'n t-sluagh. 

A mother s sister to the people. 

A warm saying, applied to a very kind friend of the peasantry. 
Na pòs a's t-Fhoghar, 
'S dean foighidinn 's a' Gheamhradh, 
Bidh tu cabhagach a's t-Earrach, 
'S bidh gainn' air aran a's t-Samhradh, 
Marry not in Autumn, 
And have patience in Winter, 
In Spring thou wilt he busy, 
And in Summer bread will be scarce. 

A bachelor's excuses for delaying marriage. 

Na sia buadhan a bha cumail suas na Fèìnne, — Agh 
Fhinn, làmh Ghoill, bras-bhuillean Oscair, iomairt 
ealamh Oisein, ruith chruaidh Chaoilte, agus suidheach- 
adh Chonain air a' chath. 

The six virtues that kept up the Fcinne, — FingaVs for- 
tune, Gaul's hand, Oscars impetuous strokes, Ossian's deft 


play, Coilt's hard ninning, and Conan's planning of the 

x^a seid sop nach urrainn clut flièin a chuir as. 

Kindle not afire lohich yon carit put out. 

Lit. a wisp. 

Na sin do chasan na 's fhaide na theid d' aodach. 

Stretch not your feet further than the clothes will go. 

See ' Cha shin cluine '. 

Stretch your legs according to your coverlet. — Eng. 

Man muss sich strecken nach den Decken. — Germ. 

Steek uw voeten niet verder dan uw bed reikt. — Dutch. 

Cada uno estiende la pierna como tiene la cubierta. — S;pan, 

Na sir 's na seachain an cath. 
Nor seek nor shun the fight. 
AL, Na seachain an iorghuill 's na h-iarr i. 
Neither shun the strife nor seek it. 
Na seachain a's na h-agair an cath. — Ir. 

This resembles, but expresses more pithily the sentiment of 
' Defence not Defiance '. It is an Ossianic line. 

Bellum nee timendum nee provocandum. — Plin. Jun. 

Na spion fiasag fir nach aithne dliut. 
Don't pluck a man's heard ivhoni you don't know. 
Na ta2;h Binneagag, no Grinneaf:rag, no Gaocjacj ; 
No ruadh bheag, no ruadh mhor, no ruadh mliàsach ; 
Ach ciarag bheag air dhath na luch, na sir 's na seach- 
ain i. 
This is supposed to be an old man's advice to his son about 
choosing a wife, ' Comhairle Charmaic do 'mhac ' — Cormac's advice 
to his son ; and there are several versions, all with words which it 
is impossible to translate, being mostly fanciful inventions, not 
to be found in any Dictionary, but not meaningless. 

Al. Na tagh Cinnebheag, 's na tagh Aiunebheag, 's na tagh piob- 
aire na tot' ; 's na tagh meallaire-slugaid ; 's ciarag bheag, &c., &c. 
Na pòs Ginnebheag, 's na pòs Innebheag; na pus maoltach 
thràghad ; na pòs glag-air-gàradh ; 's na pus maighdean Shàbaid ; 
ach pòs bean bheag odhar, 'n a seasamh 'an dorus a sabhail fliein, 
fuath aic air fir an domhain, 's gràdh aic air a fear fhein. 

The conclusion is in favour of a sallow little woman, with 
charms more substantial than birth or beauty. The son is sup- 
posed to reply — 

Bean-uasal do 'm hi stòras 
Cha phòs i mis' am bliadhna, 
'S bean-uasal lorn fhalamh 
Cha teid mis' 'ga h-iarraidh. 


ISTa tarruing mi gun aobhar, 's na pill mi gun chliii. 
■ Draw me not without cause, nor return vie ivithout 

An inscription for a sword. 

Na tilg dhiot an sean aodach gus am faigh tliu 'n 
t-aodach ùr. 

Cast not the old clothes till you (jet the neiv, 

Na tog mi gus an tuit mL 
Don't lift me till I fall, 
ìsà tog me go d-tuitidh me. — Ir. 
Dinna lift me before I fa' — Scot. 

Na tog trogbhail aii' an aineol. 
Doii't quarrel loith a stranger, 

Na toilich do mliiann gus am fiacli thu do sporan. 
Try your imrse before you -please yourself. 
Ask yir purse what ye sud buy. — Scot. 

Na toir bean a tigh mor no bo bho ghàradair. 
Don't tahe a xoife from a hig house, nor a covj from a 

See ' Bean a tigb mor '. 

Na toir bo a Paibeall, 's na toir bean a Bororaidh. 
Don't take a covj from Paihle, or a ivife from Borerary. 
Paible is a farm and village in N. Uist, Boreray another island 
near it. 

Na toir breith a reir coltais ; faodaidh cridlie 
beairteach 'bhi fo cbòta bochd. 

Judge not by appearance : a rich heart may be under 
a p)Oor coat. 

Na toir breith chabhagacli air mac luideagacli, no air 
loth pheallagaich. 

Don't jiulge hastily of a ragged boy, or a shaggy colt. 

A raggit cowte may prove a noble aiver. — Scot. 

A ragged colt may make a good horse. — Eng. 

Mechant poulain pent devenir bon cheval. — Fr. 

Cavallo formoso de potro sarnoso. — Port. 

Aus Klattrigen Fohlen werden die schonsten Hengste. — Germ. 

Na toir iasad air an iasad. 
Don't Ic.iul the loan. 


ISTa tri nidan a's daoire 'th' ann : uibliean cliearc, feòil 
mhuc, glòir chailleach. 

The three dearest of things , hen-eggs, j)oriz, and dd 
women's praise. 

Na triùir mharbh a 's bòidh'clie air bitli, leanamh 
beag, breac geal, 'us coileach-dubh. 

The three prettiest dead : a little child, a salmon, and 
a hlack-eoeh. 

Nàdur circe, 's nàdur muice, 's nàdur innatha — 
gabhaidh iad an rathad fheiu. 

Tiie nature of a hen, of a sow, and of a tooman — they 
take their own way. 

Swine, women, and bees, cannot be turned. — Eng. 

Donne, asini, e noci, voglion le mani atroci. — Women, asses and 
nuts, need strong hands. — Ital. 

Nàire nam maighdean 'an luirgnean nan cailleachan. 

Maidens' modesty in old women's shanks. 

Nead air Brighde, ubh air Inid, ian air Chuisg ; 

Mur bi sin aig an fhitheach, bithidh am bus. 

Nest at Candlemas, egg at Shrove-tide, bird at Easter ; 

If the raven have them not, death then is his lot. 

Neart teine, neart mara, 's neart balaich air bàinidh, 

T7ie strength of fire, the strength of sea, and the strength 
of a mad fellow. 

Al. Neart mara, neart teine, 's droch bhean, na tri a's uambas- 
aich a th' ann. 

Tiie strength of sea and of fire, and a bad wife — the three most 
dreadful of things. 

Neo 'r thaiug do righ na Fraing, cha 'n 'eil mi 'n 
taing a sliiùcair. 

No thanks to the king of France, I don't need his 

This is modern, and probably originated in the time of the 
Napoleonic war. 

M amaidean ciiirmean, ach ni daoine glic an itlieadh. 

Ftiles mak feasts and wise men eat them. — Scot., Eng. 

So Ital., Fr., Span., Dutch. 

This is undoubtedly an importation from the South, but worth 
giving, if only for the sake of the happy repartee made by the 
Duke of Lauderdale, when at a great entertainment given by him 


in London, he heard this proverb nialiciously cited by one of his 
guests. 'Ay,' said he, 'and wise men mak proverbs, and fules 
repeat them.' 

Ni an imricb thric an àirneis lorn. 

Frequent Jiitting hares the furnishing. 

See ' Eug 'us imrieh '. 

Ni aire innleachd. Necessity devises. 

Necessity is the mother of invention. — Eng. 

De armoede is de moeder van alle Kunsten. — Dutch. 

Necessite est mere d'invention. — Fr. 

Need maks a man o' craft. — Scot. 

Noth lehrt Kiinste. — Germ. 

Ni an sporan falamh ceannacli tais. 

Emioty purse makes slow purchase. 

A toom purse maks a blate merchant. — Scot. 

Ni càilean 'am fiacaill inntinn loisneacli. 

A husk between the teeth disturbs the mind. 

See ' Càilean '. 

Ni Carcair càise 'n uair tlieid crodh cliàicli 'an diosg. 

Carcar loill make cheese when other people' s cows run dry. 

A Lewis version of this is, "N uair a theid crodh a' bhaile 
diosg, 's ann a ni catalach càise '. The interpretation of this must 
be left to conjecture. 'Carcar' is an unknown name, and 'Catal- 
ach ' a rare word, unless it be simply a corruption of ' cadalach '. 

Ni cridhe subliach gnùis shuilbliir. 
A glad heart makes a dieerful face. 
Ni droch dhuine dan da fhein. 
A bad man makes his own destiny. 

An exceedingly wise saying, especially among a people believ- 
ing so firmly in Fate. 

Ni droch thaisgeach moran mhèirleach. 

Bad keeping makes many thieves. 

Opportunity makes the thief. — Eng. 

L' occasion fait le larron. — Fr. La commodità fa I'uomo 
ladro. — Ital. La ocasion hace el ladron. — Simn. Gelegenheit 
macht den Dieb. — Germ. Leilighed gior Tyve. — Dan. De gele- 
genheid maakt den dief. — Dutch. 

Ni dubli-bhreac a' loch suain ; bidh sàr-bhreac srutha 
a' sior leuin. 

The loch-trout sleeps; the prime stream salmon everlea^ys. 
Ni e dhiotsa feumannach, 's ni e dhiomsa breugadair. 
He ivill make of you a tool, and of me a liar. 


Ni òigear leisg bodach brisg. 
A lazy youth will make a brisk old man. 
M robli còta dubh air cealgaire, no còta dearg air 
cladhaire ! 

No Hack coat cover hyiwcrite, nor red coat a coward! 
A toast for Clergy and Army. 

Ni sid feum, 'n uair a ni am poca dubh a chaidh leis 
an amhainn. 

That will he of use, ichen the black bag is that went 
with the stream,. 

Ni tliu gàire 'n uair a gheabh tliu min. 
You'll smile ivhen you get meal. 

This is said to be part of a verse composed by John Morrison of 
Bragar to his wife, who was somewhat shrewish — 
Ni thu gàire 'n uair 'gheibh thu min ; 
Is misde do ghean a blii gun bhiadh ; 
'Us b' fhearr learn fhein na 'n t-each dearg, 
Nach tigeadh fearg ort-sa riamh. 
See Proc. of Scot. Soc. of AiiL, Vol. XII., p. 530. 

Nigh' a' mhadaidh air a mhàthair. 

The dog's ivashing of his dam. 

Nighean an droch mhairt, 's ogha 'mhairt mhath. 

The daughter of the bad cow, the grand-child of thr 
good one. 

The meaning probably is, that a good ancestry is more impor- 
tant than a good mother. 

Nigheanan a' feadaireachd 'us cearcan a' glaodhaich. 

Girls whistling and hens crovnng. 

Two things considered unnatural. See ' Feadaireachd '. 

Nimh gun neart, nimh na cuileig, a bheir fuil air 
a' chraicionn. 

Pithless poison, the fly s bite, that bleeds but the skin. 

The Arabic saying is wiser, ' Despise not a weak man in his 
conversation, for the gnat pierces the lion's eye '. 

Nitear earn mor de chlachaibh beaga. 

A big cairn is made of little stones. 

Nollaig an diugh, 's Bealltainn am màireach. 

Christmas to-day and May -day to-morrow. 

This is the resiilt of an ingenious calculation, showing, e.g., that 
if Christmas-day falls on Monday, May-day will be Tuesday. It 
is generally, but not absolutely, correct. 


Obair an doill. 

The work of the hlind. 

Obair gun bhuanuachd, a' cur sil ann an talamh gun 

Profitless ivorh, sowing in unmanured ground. 

Obair gun iarraidh, clia deaunainn do cliliamhuinn 
no 'charaid i. 

Work uimsked, I woidd not do for son-in-laio or 

Obair gun iarraidh, is e 'fiach a lochd. 
Work tinasked, the letter the worse. 

Obbyr dyn (gun) oardagh, obbyr dyn booise (hhuidluachas). — 

Obair 'us atb-obair. Work and work again. 
Work hastily or ill done. 

Oidhcb' am muigb, 'us oidhch' a's tigh, 

Math na caorach, 's olc an eich. 

In to-night, out to-morroio, 

Good for sheep, hut horse's sorrow. 

Oiee mooie, as oiee elley sthie, 

01k son cabbil, agh son kirree mie. — Manx. 

Oidhche Shamhna, theirear gamhna ris na laoigh ; 
Oidhch Fheill-Eoin theirear aighean ris na gamlma. 
On Halloween the calf is called a stirk ; 
On St. Johns eve the stirk is called a heifer. 

Oidhche Challuinn, bu math cuilionn 'us calltuinn a 
bhi 'bualadh a cheile. 

On Hogmanay-Night it were good that holly and hazel 
shoidd he striking each other. 

A windy night was considered a good sign of the season. 


01 Mhurchaidh 'us Fhearchair; dithis aig Murchadh, 
's aig Fearchar a h-aon. 

Murdoch and Farq_uhars drinking ; two /o Murdoch, 
one to Farquhar. 

01c mu 'n fhàrdaich, 'us math mu 'n rathad mhor. 

Bad at home, good abroad. 

01c na cuise gu deireadh. 

Leave the disagreeable part of the case to the last. 

01c no math mo bhriogais fheiu, 's i 's fhearr dhomhsa. 

Be viy breeches good or bad, my own are the best for me. 

01c no 'mhath le fear 'g a h-iarraidh, thig i niar 'an 
dèigh an uisge. 

Let it please a man or no, after rain from ivest 'twill 

See ' Gaoth niar '. 

Onfhadh na poite bige. 

The raging of the little 'pot. 

When the pat's fu' it will boil ower. — Scot, 

Oran na bà maoile — ' tha mi ullamh dhiot.' 

The song of the hornless cow — ' / am done with you.' 

Oran na circe beadaidh. 

Tlie song of the pert hen. 


Pàidliear e, Diluain mall. 

It ivill be paid on tardy Monday. 

Same as Nevermas. 

Pàidhidh a' ghaoth niar a' giiaotli near am bliadbna 

The ivest wind will pay the east ivind yet this year. 

Pàidhidli am feaman am fiarach. 

The tail vjill pay the grazing. 

Each beast will pay for its feeding with the manure it leaves. 

Paisg mo cbaibe, faigli mo ribe, cbuala mi ' Gug- 
gùg' 's a' cbuaD. 

Fut by my spade, get my snare, I heard the bird's cry 
out at sea. 

This is an Uist or Harris invention, supposed to be spoken 
by a St. Kilda man, on hearing the first indication of the coming 
of the birds on which his living chiefly depends. 

Pathadb na caorach ort ! 
TJie sheep's thirst to thee ! 

This is a bad wish, = death to thee ! The sheep can exist 
without drink, man cannot. 

Peata caillich, piglieid clachain, 'us dalta spiocaid, 
triùir a' s coir a sbeachnadh. 

An old vjife's pet, a village magpie, and a scrub's step- 
daughter, three to be avoided. 

Peileir a' ghunna bhig 'g. a chur 's a' gbimna mlior. 
The hdlet of the little gun put into the big gun. 

Pbòs mi Inid airson a ciiid; 
Dh 'fbalbb a' chuid, ach dh'fhtm a'luid. 
I married a trull for her gold so fine, 
Tlie gold is gone, hit the trull is mine. 


Piseacli mliath ort ! 

Good luck to thee ! 

Al. Biiaidh 'us piseach ort ! — Success and luck to thee ! 

The latter is a very favourite expression of good wishes. 

Piòbair an aon pliuirt. 
The j^-z^^c?' of the one tune. 
Al. Piùbair an aona chuir — The one-har piper. 
It appears that at one time there were professing pipers so 
miserably furnished that they could play only the first bar of a 
tune, the repetition of which was too much for the most patient 
human ears. When the ancient order of Bards fell into disre- 
pute, they used to go about the country in bands, living as best 
they could. Once a band of them came to a farmer's house in 
Islay, wliere they were hospitably entertained for a week, got 
plenty of dry bread, and a piper to play to them his one tune. 
He happened to be of the one-bar species, and when the bardic 
company departed, their leader (^ Ceann-steòcaire ') made the fol- 
lowing impromjitu : — 

Piòbaireachd 'us aran tur, 

'S miosa learn na guin a' bhàis ; 

Fhir a bhodhaii" mo dhà chluais, 

Na cuir piob a suas gu bràth ! 

Piping and dry bread to me 

Are worse than agony of death ; 

Thou man who hast deafened me, 

Never, never pipe again ! 
N.B. — The word 'tur' here is noticeable, as now quite obsolete 
in the sense of dry. The word ' turadh ' = dry weather, is derived 
from it. 

Pògadh an leinibh air sgàtli na banaltruim. 
Kissing the child for the sake of the nurse. 
See ' Air ghaol '. 

Port ùr air an t-sean fhiodhail. 

A new tune on the old fiddle. 

Posadli tliar na h-innearach, 'us goisteachd thar muir. 

Marriage o'er the midden, sponsorship o'er sea. 

Better marry ower the midden than ower the muir.— S^cof. 

Better wed over the mixen than over the moor. — Cheshire. 


Eacliadli e troimh tlioll tora gu ni fnaotainn. 

He ivould go through an auger-hole to get anything. 

Eachainn a thaomaclh ua fairge dha na'n iarradh e 

/ loovM go to drain the sea for him, if he asked me. 

Eathad cam thun a' cliaisteil. 

A roundabout way to the castle. 

Eatliad muilinn Drongaidh. 

The way to the mill of Dron. 

Al. Rathad mòr leathan reidh, rathad muilinn D. — A broad 
level highway, &c. 

There was no made road. 

Eeic e 'pheigliinn-phisich. 
He sold his luck-penny. 
Eeodhadh an lodain lain. 
The freezing of the full 'pool. 

Eeothairt na Feill-Moire, 's boile na Feill-Pàdruig. 
TJie Spring-tide of Lady -day ; the fury of St. Patricics 

High tides and Minds occur about these times. 
Ei fheuchainn bi fios agad. 
You II know tchen you try. 

Ei fuachd Calluiiin, 's math clò ollainn ; 
Ei fuachd Feill-Briglide, fogh'naidh cisfheart. 
For Nevj Year cold good is tvoollen cloth ; 
Far Candlemas cold mixed stuff will do. 
Eiaraich am pailteas gu math, 'us riaraichidh a' 
bhochdainn i fhein. 

Divide the plenty well, and the scarce will divide itself 
When there is much, it requires to be carefully distributed, to 
prevent waste or inequality ; where there is little, the division is 
more easy, and there is no danger of waste. 


Eiglmeas an laoigh fliirinn. 
The toughness of the lull-calf. 

Einn e baotliaire dhetb. 

He made a fool of him. 

Einn e coileach-dubli dhetli. 

He made a black-cock of him. 

He shot him dead. 

This suggests the saying of the bard Iain L6m, when he was 
shown a quantity of black-cocks' heads at Inveraray, and asked, if 
he had ever seen so many ? ' Yes,' he said, ' I saw more of them 
at Inverlochy' ; alluding to the slaughter of the Campbells at the 
battle there. 

Al. Rinn e biadh ian deth — He made birds' food of him. 

Al. Rinn e pasgadh na piob air — He doubled him up like a 

Einn e faraiche de'n fharaiche. 

He made a plug of the plug-driver. 

Driving out a plug with another, and that other sticking in its 

Einn e luath 'us deargannan ann. 

He made ashes and fleas there. 

I.e., he staid there long enough. 

Einneadh air son toil na cuideachd e, mar 'chaidh an 
tàillear do Pheairt. 

It was done to please the company, as the tailor went 
to Perth, 

Eogliainn de 'n chuid a's miosa. 

Choice of the worse part. 

Eoghainn de 'n chuid nach fhaigh e, 

Choice of what he will not get. 

Eoinn a' mhic ri 'mliàthair. 

The son's sharing loith his mother 

Eoinn mic 'us athar. 

The sharing of father and son. 

Eoinn Mhic Cmislig air na crùbain. 

MacCruslick's dividing of the crabs. 

He put the contents of the best-looking ones into the worst- 
looking ones, which he afterwards got for himself. 

Eoinn na màthar ris a nighinn. 

The mother's sharing with her daughter. 


Euaig coilich air dùnan. 

Putting a cock on a dunghill to flights 

Piud-eigin 'an ait an earchailL 
Something in place of loss. 

Eug bo laogh dha. A cow has home him a calf. 
Eug iasg orm. A fish has caught inc. 
Said by a person wlieii seized with a fit of sickness. — i^oU ly 
Macintosh. This saying is unintelligible, and not in use. 

Eughadh an leiuibh Ilich, rugliadh an teine. 

The bloom of the May child, tlie bloom of the fire. 

The ' leanabh Ileach ' was a remarkable boy, with a hard step- 
mother, who fed him badly, and heated his face at the fire, when 
she wished to pass him off as a well-fed ruddy child. — See Cuairt- 
ear, 1842, p. 79. 

Eughadh shuas an am laidhe, 

Dh' eireadh Fionn nioch 's a' mhaduinn ; 

Eughadh shuas 's a'mhoch mhaduinn, 

Dheanadh Fionn an ath-chadal. 

With a rosy shy at bed-time, 

Fingal woidd rise early. 

With a rosy sky at davm. 

He would take another sleep. 
My ta 'n ghrian jiarg tra giree teh, foddee shin jerkal rish 
fliaghey — If the sun rises 'hot aiid red, we may look for a wetting. — 

When it is evening ye say, ' It will be fair weather, for the 
sky is red,' and in the morning, ' It will be foul weather to-day, 
for the sky is red and lo^vring '. — Matth. xvi., 2, 3. 

Evening red and morning gray 

Are sure signs of a fair day ; 

Evening gray and morning red, 

Sends the poor shepherd home wet to his bed. — Eng. 

E'ening red and morning gray. 

The taikens o' a bonny day ; 

E'ening gray and morning red, 

Put on yir hat or ye'll weet yir head. — Scot. 

Euigidh an ro-ghiullachd air an ro-ghalar. 

The best of nursing may overcome the worst disease. 

Euigidh dàil dorus. 

Delay vjill arrive at the door. 


Euigidh each mall muileann, acli feiimaidh fear 
fuireach a bhristeas a chas. 

A slovj horse will reach the mill, hut the horse that 
breaks his leg must lie still. 

At. ach bristiclh each tuisleach a cbas — but a stumbling horse 
will break his leg. 

Kùisgidh brù bràghad. 

TJie belly ivill bare the breast. 

Y bol a bil y cefn. — Welsh. 

Your belly will never let your back be warm. — Eng. 

The back and the belly hands ilka ane busy. — Scot. 

Eùisgeadh e 'thigh fhein a thubhadh tigh a 

He would strip his own house to thatch his neighboitrs. 

Euith choin an da fheidh. 

The runniny of the clog that chases tvjo deer. 

Losing both. See ' Cii an da iTieidh '. 

Euith na caorach caoile le leathad. 
The lean sheep's run doicn the slope. 
Rhuthr enderig o'r allt — The run of the steer from the hill. — Welsh. 

Euithidh an taigeis fhein le bruthaich, 

Eveii a haggis will run down-hill. 

Strange to say, this does not occur in any of the collections of 
Scottish Proverbs ; but it is quoted, with his usual wonderful 
felicity, by Sir Walter Scott. On the eve of Prestonpans, Evan 
Dhu M'Combich (Waverley, ch. xlvi.) is made to say, 'Even a 
haggis, God bless her ! could charge down-hill '. 

Euithinn air bhàrr an uisge dha. 
/ would rim on the water for him. 
Eiin caillich gu'n trod i. 
A crones secret (or delight) is to scold. 
Run caillighe a' sgollaireacht (scolding). — Ir. 

Eùn do chridhe ah- do chuisle ! 

3Tay your pulse beat as your heart looidcl wish ! 

This is a very pretty saying. 


Sac trom air a' chois chaoil. 
A heavy load mi the shmder leg. 
A burden imposed on a child. 

Saighdearan a' chlobha. The tongs soldiers. 

A I. Saighdear-sitig — Dunghill-soldier. 

A term contemptuously applied to holiday soldiers. 

Sàil-chuaich 'us bainne ghobhar, 
Suath ri cV aghaidh, 
'S cha'n 'eil mac-righ air domhan, 
Nach bi air do dheaghaidh. 
Wash thy face with lotion 
Of goat-milk and sweet violets ; 
There's not a kings son in the ivorld 
But will then run after thee. 
This is a solitary specimen of Highland skill in cosmetics. 

Salaichidh aon chaora chlaimheach an treud. 
One scahhed sheep's enough to spoil a flock. — Eng. 

Salachaidh aon chaora chlamhach sreud. — Ir. 

Ta un cheyrey screbbagh doghaney yn slane shioltane. — Manx. 

Ae scabbit sheep will smit a hail hirsel. — Scot. 

Eet skabbet Faar fordser ver en heel Flok. — Dan. 

Grex totus in agris 
Unius scabie cadit. — Juv. 

Una pecora infetta n' ammorba una setta. — Ital. 
II ne faut qu'une brebis galeuse pour gater tout le troupeau. — Fr. 

Sannt gun sonas eirigh an donas dba. 
Luckless greed won't succeed. 

Sannt caillich 's a' chruaich mliòine. 
An old woman's greed at the peat-stack. 

Saoghal fada 'n deadh bheatha dliut ! 
Length of good life to thee ! 


Saoilidh am fear a bhios 'n a thàmli gur e fhein a 's 
fheaiT làmh air a' stiiiir. 

The looker-on thinks himself the best steersman. 

De beste stuur-lieden (])ilots) zijn aan land. — Dutch. 

Saoilidh an duin' air mhisg gu'm bi a' li-uile duin' air 
mhisg ach e fhein. 

The drunk man thinks all drunk hut himself. 

Saoilidh bradaidh nam bruach gur gadaichean uile each. 

The thief of the braes thinks all others thieves. 

Saoileann gaduighe na g-cruach gur slaididh an sluagh. — Ir. 

Piensa el ladron que todos son de su condicion. — Span. 

ladrao cuida que todos taes sac. — Port. 

Sàr-dhubh do ghonaidh ort ! 

The worst of beivitchment to thee ! 

Al. Seun do ghonaidh ort ! 

Sàth mòr ainmig do na leanaban firionn, sàth beag 
minig do na leanaban boirionn. 

A large feed seldom for the male child, a siiiall feed 
often for the female child. 

Seach gun d'thug mi 'n reis, bheir mi 'n oirleach. 

As I have given the span, III give the inch. 

Seachain an t-àth far an do bhàthadh do charaid. 

Shun the ford lohere your friend was droivned. 

Seachain an t-olc 'us seachnaidh an t-olc thu. 

Avoid evil and it will avoid thee. 

Shaghyn dagh oik. — Manx. 

Seachain mo chluas, 's cha bhuail m'adharc. 

Avoid my ear, and my horn loill not hit. 

Seachd bliadhna 'an cuimhne na bà, 's gu la a bhàis 
'an cuimhn' an eich. 

Seven years will the cow keep in mind, all his life the 

The horse remembers his stable longer than the cow her byre. 

Seachd bliadhna saoghal a' chait ; 
Sin gu h-eibhinn agus ait ; 
Seach sin cadal agus tur-chadal. 
Seveii year's lives the cat, 
Joyfidly and cheerfully. 
All the rest is sleep and dozing. 


Seachd bolla 'slmeachda Gearrain, 
'Dol a's tigh throimh aon toll torra. 
Seven lolls of February snow, 
Through an auger-hole to go. 
Considered seasonable weather. See 'Theid cathadh'. 

Seachd seaclidainean bho aois gu has eadar Càisg 
'us Inid, 

Seven weeks always hetiueen Pasch and Shrove-tide. 
Al. eadar Càisg 'us Nollaig — between Pasch and Christmas. 

Seaclid sgadain, sàth bradain; seachd bradain, sàtli ròin. 

Seven herring, a salmons feed ; seven salmon, a seal's 

This saying is interesting, as showing that our ancestors were 
well acquainted with the fact that the salmon eats herring, which 
has in modern times been a matter of question and inquiry among 

Seachdain an t-sionnaich, 's bu mhath nach bu 
bhliadhn' i. 

The fox's iveeTc, and 'tis well that it is not a year. 

Wythnos y llwynog. — Welsh. 

The first week in lambing-time ; — end of April. 

Seachnaidh duin' a bhràthair, ach cha sheachainn e 

A man may do without a brother, but not without a 

Lit. may avoid. See ' Is fhearr coimhearsnach '. 

Sealladh àrd na seana mhaighdinn. 

The high look of the old maid. 

Ye breed o' auld maids, ye look heich ! — Scot. 

Seann sgial Earraich. Aii old Spring story. 
Told in the long nights. 

Searrach na seann làrach cha bhi tighinn-a-mach ann. 
An old mares foal will never come to much. 
See ' Mac bàntraich '. 

Searrach seann òigich cha robh e riabh sgairteil. 
The foal of an old stallion ivas never vigorous. 

Seasadh gach soitheach air a mhàs fhèin. 

Let every vessel stand on its oivn bottom. 

Let every tub stand on its own bottom. — Eng., Scot. 


Stìd agiis sèid an gual, ach sèid gu ruigliinn cruaidh 
an sop ; sin mar theid an tein' a lasadh. 

Blow and Mow again the coal, hut a long, hard hloiv to 
the vnsp ; so the fire will lighted he. 

Seididh aon sròn shalach an clachan. 

One snotty nose ivill set a whole church a-hlovnng. 

Seileach allt, calltainn chreag, fearna bhog, beithe lag, 
uinnseann an deiseir. 

Willow of the brook, hazel of the rock, alder of the hog, 
hirch of the holloio, ash of the siinny slojoe. 

Al. beitlie a' chnuic — the hirch of the knoll. 

Seo mo clmid-sa, 's do cliuid fhein ; sid cuid 

This my share and yours ; that for little Donald. 

Once upon a time, when crofters lived at Druim-Uaclidair, in 
Badenoch, a poor widow at the end of a severe Spring was in great 
straits. She went to a neighbour, and begged her, for the love of 
God, to give her as much meal as would make porridge for herself 
and her children. ' The Devil a grain have I,' said the other 
woman. 'God bless my share, mother,' said her little boy, who 
was sitting at the hearth. The poor woman went away sore-hearted ; 
and presently there came in to the house she had left no less 
a visitor than the Fear Mar, whose name had just been mentioned. 
He immediately went to the meal-chest, and proceeded to take it 
out in handfuls, two for himself and the mistress of the house, one 
for little Donald. The former he put into a sack, the latter he 
left ; and having finished the work, went out, emptied the sack 
into the burn, and disappeared in a cloud of smoke ! 

Sgadan gearr gun mliealag gun iucliair, 's mairg brù a n 
tèid e. 

Short herring ivithout milt or roe, pity him that eats. 

Sgal creathaicli, 'us (iubh caillich — da ni nach mair 

The noise of hurning brushwood, and the cry of an old 
woman, doiit last long. 

Sgaraidh aimbeairteas deadli chomunn. 

Poortith pairts guid company. — Scot. 

Poverty parteth fellowship. — Eng. 

Sgian an fliir ud shios 'an truaill an fhir ud shuas. 
This man's knife in that mans sheath. 


Scjiobair tòn-ri-creig, math air tìr 's dìblidh air muir. 

Shore-skipper, good on land, craven at sea. 

A long-shore skipper makes a lubberly sailor. — Eng. 

Sgoiltidh farmad na creagan. Envy loill split rocks. 

Sgoiltidh sùil a' chlach. 

An eye can split a stone. 

The evil eye. See note to * Ceum air do cheum '. 

Sgriach na muice a' dol do 'n iolainn. 

The screech of the soiu on her ivay to the stackyard. 

Sgriob liatli an Earraich. 

The gray track of Spring. 

Al. Bheix sgriob ghlas Earraich cairt bharrach Foghair — A 
green Spring will Jill the cart in Autumn. 

Shaoil leis gu'm bu leis fhein an cuan fo gheasaibh. 

He thought the ocean his oivn under his spiells. 

Applied to persons with an overweening or insane idea of their 
own importance. 

Shuidh mosag air a sasaig. 

The scrub sat on her easy chair. 

* Sasag,' or ' sunnag,' an easy chair made of wicker-work and 

Sian fala mu d' shùilean ! 

A shmver of blood round thine eyes ! 

Sid a' bhuille aig an stadadh m'athair, arsa nighean 
a' chùbair. 

TJiat's the blow xohere my father would stop, said the 
cooper's doMghter. 

A blow too many would set the hoop flying, instead of fixing it. 

Sid mar 'thaghadh Fionn a chù, 
Sùil mar àirneig, ckias mar dhuilleig, 
Ucbd mar gbearran, speir mar chorrau, 
'S an t-alt-lùthaidh fad' o'n cheann. 
Thus iDoidd Fingcd choose his hound. 
Eye like sloe, ear like leaf. 
Chest like horse, hough like sickle, 
And the pith-joint far from head. 
Al. Gnos mar chuaille, 

Cluas mar dhuilleach, 

Earball mu 'n speir, 

'S an speir mar chorran. 


Muzzle like chib, ear like leaf, tail to the hough, and hough like 

This refers to the old Scottish deerhound. The English grey- 
hound is thus described in a rhyme given by Ray : 
A head like a snake, a neck like a drake, 
A back like a beam, a belly like a bream, 
A foot like a cat, a tail like a rat. 

Siod' air cabar, 's bidh e breagli. 

Fut silk on a stick, and it will look fine. 

Siol nam pudharan. The seed of injuries. 

Sionnach ag iarraidh a ruagaidh. 

A fox ashing to he chased. 

Sireadh caimein 'an cònlaich, 

Sanas a thoirt do chuaille, 

Duine 'toirt a chomhairle, 

Far nach gabhar uaitli i. 

Searching for a mote in straw, 

Hinting to a fool. 

Is the giving of advice 

Where it is not taken. 
Sireadh sop 'an connalaich. 
Searching for a wisp in stubUe. 
Sith do d' anam, 'us clach air do chàrn ! 
Peace to thy soid, and a stone on thy cairn ! 

Siubhal a' chait a cbaidh do 'n eas dhut ! 

The wag of the cat that went to the waterfall to you ! 

Siubhal Artair ort ! Arthur s journey to you ! 

Siubhal Mhurchaidh bho 'n bhothan ort ! 

Murdoch's way from the hothy to you ! 

Siubhal na Samhna dha ! 

Let him go like Halloivmas ! 

Never to come back. The two preceding sayings have the 
same meaning. Can Arthur mean the king ? 

Slàn far an innsear e ! 

3fay it be well where it is told ! 

The word ' slàn,' healthy, whole, is here used elliptically, 
without a verb. 

Slaodadh an arain anns a' bhrochan. 

Trailing the bread in the gruel. 


Sk'ibhte riabhacli nam ban bòidheach. 
Eussct SI eat of pretty uvmen. 
See ' Clachan an t-Srath '. 

Sliochd nan sionnach, Clann Mhartainu. 

The race of the foxes, Clan Martin. 

The fox is sometimes called * An gille-Màrtainn '. 

Slìog am bodach 'us sgròbaidh e tliu, buail am bodacli 
's thig e gu d' làimh. 

Stroke the churl, and he icill scratch you, strike him, 
and he vAll come to your hand. 

If you gently toucli a nettle, 
It will sting you for your pains ; 
Grasp it like a man of mettle, 
It as soft as silk remains. 

Smiaran dubha 's an Fhaoilleach, 'us uibliean fliaoileag 
a's t-Earracb. 

BramUe-herries in February, and sea-gull eggs in Spring. 
Things out of season. 

Sniomhaidli tighearna fearna tuatbanacli daraich. 

An alder lord icill ticist an oak tenant. 

A I. Toinnidh an t-uachdaran fearna an t-iochdaran daraich. 

Alder is soft wood, of comparatively small value. The story 
of the man who was encouraged by his wife to ' gang up and be 
hangit, to please the laird,' may be taken as an illustration of 
this saying from the 'good old times'. Somewhat similar pres- 
sure is still exercised occasionally in modern times. 

Socraichidh am posadh an gaol. 
Marrying sobers love. 

Sonas a cbodach air a' bhial fliarsuinn. 
The wide mouth's hapinness in its food. 

Sop as gach seid. 

A wisp from every truss. 

Applied to any miscellaneous collection or farrago. 

Soraidb leat fhein, ach mollacbd aig bial d' ionnsach- 

Blessing on yourself, but curse be on your teacher ! 

Spagadagliog Cblann-Dònuill agus leòm Leatbaineach 

MacDonald swagger and. MacLean airs. 

Al. Spagadagliog Chlann-Illeathain. See ' An t-uasal '. 


Sradag a' ghobha, tha i duilich a bàthadh. 

The smith's sjmrk is hard to quench. 

The smith has aye a spark in his throat. — Scot. 

Sròn clio biorach 's gun tugadh i biadh a faochag. 

A nose so sharp that it would pick a periwinkle. 

Sròn ri monadh. Kose hill-ward. 

' Nez retrousse'. Applied to persons easily offended, — ' nosey'. 
Stiùbhartaich, cinne nan righ 's nan ceard. 
The Steivarts, the race of kings and of tinkers. 
Stewart is a very common name among tinkers, often adopted 
for the sake of the supposed respectability it conferred. 

Stoc suiridhche. A wooer s hlock. 

In Lochaber a block of old bog-pine was sometimes kept, as a 
test of skill and patience in chopping wood, for young men 
coming a-courting. 

Suas a' luideag ! — 's e 'n duine an t-aodach. 

Up with the rag ! — the dress is the man. 

'S e an t-èadach a ghni an duine. — Ir. 

See ' Ged nacli e 'n duine '. 

Suas leis a' chuigeil bharraich ! 's ioma la fada gu 

Up with the loaded distaff! there's many a long day 
till May-day. 

Supposed to be the language of procrastination. 

Suidh gu h-iosal, 'us diol gu h-uasal. 

Sit lowly, and pay nobly. 

Suidh' an deigh eiridh a' chuid a's miosa de 'n clieilidh. 

Sitting after rising, the worst piart of gossiping. 

Suidhe a' gheòidh 'an dorus tigh an t-sionnaich. 

The sitting of the goose at the fox's door. 

Suidhe bochd 'an tigh na h-airce. 

A poor seat in the house of want. 

Sùil a' chait air sioman. 

A cat's gaze at a straw-rope. 

This is applied to the bestowal of much attention on trifles. 

Sùil mu 'n t-sròin. Eye to nose. 

This is the vnodpa l8(ov of Homer, describing a haughty dis- 
dainful look, eye downward to nose. 

Suipeir ghabhail soillse la oidhcli' Fheill-Brighde ; 

Dol a laidhe soillse la oidhch' Fheill-Pàdruig. 


On St. Brides eve sujiper with dayliglit, 
On St. Patrick's, bed by daylight. 
Al. Suipeir 'an soillse la, mach o la Flieill-Bri glide. 
Laidlie 'n soillse la, mach o la Fheill-Pàdruig. 

Suiridhe fada bho'n tigh, 's posadh 'am bun an doruis. 
Courting far from home, and marrying next door. 
Al. Suiridhe air na h-aonaichean, 'us posadh aig a' bliaile. 
Wooing o\t the moor, and marrying at home. 
See 'Posadh'. 

Sùlairean sgìre na h-Uidh, 's muinntir aoidheacli nan 

The solan-geese of Uy, and the hospitahle folks of Lochs. 

Two neighbouring parishes in the island of Lewis, the former 
of which is now called Stornowaj, a great station for herring- 
fishery and fish-curing — hence the allusion to solan-geese. 

Suit searraich air a leis. 
AfoaVsfat is on his quarter. 

Surd air Suaineard ! cliaidh Aird-nam-]\Iurchann a 

Stir thee, Sunart ! Ardnamurchan is done for. 
Two neighbouring districts in Argyllshire. The saying is used 
as a spur to emulation in work. 

Tachraidh d' fhiadh fhein riut. 

Yoii7' oivn deer will come in your way. 

Tagil do bhean mar a 's math leat do chlann. 

Choose your wife as you wish your children to he. 

Tagh do bhean 's i 'n a currachd-oidhche. 

Choose your vnfe ivith her night-cap on. 

Tagh do chainnt. Choose your speech. (Be civil.) 

Tagh do chomhhiadar mu'n tagh thii d' òl. 

Choose your company before you choose your drink. 

Al. Tagh do chuideachd mu'n tagh thu do dheocli. Al. Tagh 
do chompanach nui'n suidh thu — Choose your companion before you 
sit down. Choose thy company before thy drink. — Eng. 

Tagh nighean na deadh mhathar, ged a b' e 'n donas a 
b' athair dhi. 

Choose the good mother's daughter, were the devil her 

Taghlaidh bo a h-ath-bhuaile mur h-olc an innis. 

A covj will re-visit her fold, if the pasture be not bad. 

Tàillear a chronachadh tàilleir. 

Set a tailor to check a tailor. 

Tàirneanach 'an deigh nòine, tàirneanach an toraidh 

Tàirneanach roimh nòine, tàirneanach gort' 'us fuachd. 

Thunder in the cfternoon, the thunder of plenty ; 

Thunder in the forenoon, the thunder of v: ant and cold. 

Tàirnidh gach neach ri 'choltas. 

Like draws to like. 

See ' Druididh,' and ' Is ionrahuinn '. 

Taisg bonn, 'us cosg bonn, 's bidh tu sona; taisg bonn, 
's na cosg bonn, 's bidh tu dona. 

Save a coin ctnd spend a coin, and you'll be happy ; 
save a coin and sptend none, and you'll he wretched. 


Talach a' ghille glilic, 'g a itheadh 's 'g a chàineadh. 
The wise lad's grumbling — eating it and ahusing it. 
Al. Talach a' ghille ghlic — gabh na gliealjh, 'us iarr an còrr. 
The ivise lad's grumbling — take what you get, and ask for more. 

Talach air mend a cliuibhrinn. 
Complaining of the greatness of his portion. 
Al. Talach 'uallaich — Gomplaining of his load. 
Not uncommon among people bloated with wealth. 

Tàlaidhidh am biadh fiadh na beinne. 

Food will entice the mountain deer. 

Al. an t-ian athair — the bird from the sky. 

See ' Càtaichidh ' and ' Meallaidh '. 

'Taomadh na mara làine. Baling out the full tide. 

Tapan gòraig air cuigeal criontaig. 

The silly one's tuft of wool on the thrifty one's distaff. 

Tarruing am bleidir' ort, 's bidh e oidhch' agad. 

Encourage the sorner, and you'll have a night of him. 

Al. Taghladh am bleidire, 's bidh an oidhch' ann. 

The beggar takes care to call at evening. 

Tatha mhor nan tonn, bheir i sgriob lom air Peairt. 
Great billowy Tay will sweep Perth hare. 
This was an old prophecy, fulfilled more than once. 
See 'Dh'fhalbh Peairt'. 

Tàthadh goirid a' ghoblia, agus tàthadh leobhar an 

The short welding of the smith ; the long joining of the 

Te gheal blio fhear gu fear ; te odhar 'an dorus a 

A fair one goes from man to man ; a dun one stands 
at her own barn door. 

This is a siiggestion that the plain woman will make a better 
wife. See 'Na tagh'. 

Teanga fhada 'n ceann Dhònnill fhìdhleir, 

A long tongue in Donald fiddler s head. 

Teanga cho geur ri ealtuinn. 

A tongue as sharp as a razor. 

Teannaich do chrios gus am faigh thu biadh. 

Tighten your belt till you get food. 

This is a known practice of American Indians. 


Teine chaoran 'iis gaol ghiul^an, 

Fire of iKcds and love of hoys. 

Xot of long endurance. 

Teirigidh Cruachan Beann, gun dad a dhol ri 'cheann. 

Ben Cruachan will waste away, if nothing le added 
to it. 

A I. Theirigeadh Cruachan Beann, le 'bhi sior thoirt as, gun dad 
idir 'g a chur ann. 

Teirigidh gach ni ri 'chaitlieamh. 

Everythiny icdll end ivith ^vastiny. 

Teisteanas a' clioimhearsnaich air gach neach. 

A neiyhhour's testimony is the test of everybody. 

Al. Teist a nàbaidh. 

Teodhaidh feòil ri fine, ged nach deòin le duine. 

Flesh u-ill warrti to kin, ayainst a mans tvill. 

Al. Teodhaidh an fhuil ris an fhuil — Blood warms to blood. 

See ' Is tighe ''. 

The sentimeni and the double rhyme here are equally pretty. 

Tha am air an achmhasan, a's tràth air a' cheilidh. 
There's a time for rebuke, and a time for yossijnny. 
To everything there is a season. — Eccl. iii. 1. 
Amser i fwyd, amser i olychwyd — A time for meat, and a time 
for prayer. Fob peth yn ei amser — Everything in its time. — TVelsh. 

Tha aon chas na 's leor do 'n fhirinn, ach tuitidh a' 
bhriag le 'tri. 

One foot is enouyhfor truth, but a lie falls vnth three. 

See ' Imridh briag '. 

Tha aon saighead as a bhalg. 

There is one arrow out of his quiver, 

Tha bial gun fhàitheam draghail. 

A hemless moidh is troiiblesonie, 

Tha 'bhial air a ghualainn. 

His tonyue is on his shoidder. 

Wearing his heart upon his sleeve ; the opposite of ' teanga fo 
'chrios,' tongue under belt. 

Tha 'bhioran air a bharran daonnan. 
His stick is cdurcys on its poiìit. 
Always on the move, and fidgetting about. 

Tha blàth do chodach ort. 
You look like your food. 


Tha 'bhlàth ort nacli 'eil dad agad air. 
You look as if he oioed you notiilng. 

'Tha 'bliuil,' ars' am breabadair, 's a bbean air a 

' The effect is seen,' said the weave)', with his luife on the 
top of him. 

He had apparently given in rather too much to his better half. 

' Tha biadh 'us ceòl 'an seo,' mu'n dubhairt a' madadh- 
ruadh, 's e 'ruith air falbh leis a' phiob. 

* There's meat and music here', as the fox said, v)hcn he 
ran away luith the hagiovpe. 

If there were nothing else to show the humour of our Celtic 
ancestors, this saying would. 

Tha caitheamh ann 'us caomhnadh, 's tha caomhnadh 
anil 'us caitheamh, 

Tliere is a spending and a saving ; a saving and, a 

There is that scattereth and yet increaseth. — Prov. xi. 24. 

Al. Tha caitheamh sona agus caitheamh dona ann. 

There is a happy spending and an unhappij spending. 

Tha car eil' air ruidhl' a' bhodaich. 
There s another turn in the old man's reel. 
Ta lane chyndaaghyn ayns carr y phoosee — There are many 
turns in the marriage tune. — Manx. 

Tha car eile 'an adharc an daimh. 

There's another twist in the ox's horn. 

An imaginative traveller gave an account of a wonderful ox, 
whose horns reached the sky when he lay down. On being asked 
'What became of the horns when the ox stood up V he gave this 

Tha 'cheaiin eadar a' chliath 's an ursainn. 
His head is between the door and the side-post. 
' In Chancery.' ' In a fix.' 

Tha 'chomhachag ri bròn, thig tuiltean òirmi. 
The owl is mourning, rain is comÌ7ig. 

Tha 'chomhairle 'n a cheann fhein. 
His counsel is in his oivn head. 
Tha chridhe 'mireag ris. 
His heart is merry-making. 


Tha claimh mo chaorach fhein air. 
He has the scab of my own sheep. 
Tha cuibheas air a' h-uile rud, gu ruig òl a' bhrochain. 
Tliere's a measure for everything — to the drmhiny of 

Al. a' chàil — of kail. 

Mae dogn ar bob peth. — Welsh. 

When moderately used it our lives does prolong. 

The Kail Brose of Old Scotland. 

Tha currachd air a' bheinn ; sid an t-uisge 'tighinn. 

The mountain has a cajy on ; that's the rain coming. 
When Cheviot ye see put on his cap 
Of rain ye'll have a wee bit drap. — Eng., Scot. 

Tha da bhall diibh air an adaig, 's earball fad' air a' 

The haddock has tivo Mack spots, and the whiting a long 

Tha da thaobh air bean a' bhaile. 

The farmer's wife has two sides. 

Al. Tha da thaobh air bean a' bhàillidh, 's da thaobh air bat' an 
aisig — The factor's wife has two sides, and so has the ferry-boat. 

Al. Tha da thaobh air a' mhaoil (or rudh a' chuain) — The head- 
land has two sides. 

Al. Tha caoin 'us ascaoin air — He has a soft and a hard side. 

Tha deargann 'n a osan. He has a flea in his stocking. 

A flea in the ear. — Eng. 

Tha dlùth glic ann, agus inneach gòrach. 

He has wise warp, hut foolish woof. 

Said of one who is wiser than he seems. 

Tha do dhà chrann air do bhois. 
Your two lots are on your palm. 
Tha e air a ghearran guanach. 
He is on his flighty horse. 
Said of a restless person. 

Tha e cho fileanta ri bard. He is as fluent as a hard. 
Tha e gu math, ach na tarruing fhiasag. 
He is well, hut don't p)ull his heard. 
Tha e mar a bha cat Mhic-Aoidh — fhathast 's an 

He is like Mackay's cat — still in the flesh. 


Tlia e 'n geall na 's fliiach e. 
He is pledged for what he's ivorth. 
Said of one in great danger. 

Tha e nis air fòid na firinne. 
He is now on the sod of truth. 
He is dead. 

Tha e nis air slighe na firinne. 
He is now on the way of truth. 

Ta se nois a staid na firinne, agus sinne air staid na brèige — 
He, is now in the state of truth, and we of falsehood. — Ir. 
He is dying. 

Tha e 'ruith air an rud a gheabh e. 
He is rtmning on what he'll get. 
Al. air 'ainiMeas— o?i his hurt; air salachar — on foul ground. 

Tha esan na Iain feadh an t-saoghail, mar a bha e 

He is John all over the toorld, as he ever was. 

lann eo, lann e vo — John he is, John he icill be. — Breton. 

Tha fear ann a leigeas a mhaidean le sruth. 

There is one that lets his vjood go loith the stream. 

Tha 'fhàgail fhein aig gach neach. 

Everyone has his fate. 

Lit. his abandonment — left to himself. 

Tha 'fhortan fhein air Mac-Cuaradh, biodh e cruaidh 
no biodh e bog. 

MacQuarrie has his oum Inch, ivhether it he luuxl or 

This refers to the ancient chiefs of Ulva's isle. 

Tha fios aig an Inch nach 'eil an cat a's tigh. 

Well knows the mouse that the cat's not in the house. 

Pei y gath fyddai gartref, gwaeth 'd fyddai — Were the cat at 
home, it were worse for you. — Welsh. 

An uair f hàgas na cait am baile, biann na luchògaidh a rince 
(dancing). — Ir. 

When the cat is away, the mice may play. — Eng. 

Absent le chat, les souris dansent. — Fr. 

Quando la gatta non è in casa, i topi ballano. — Ital. 

Vanse los gatos, y estienderse los ratos. — Span. 

Wenn die Katze ausser dem Hause ist, tanzen die Mause. — 

Als de kat slaapt, spelen de mnizen. — Dutch. 

Naar Katten er borte, lobe Musene paa Bcenken. — Dan. 


Tha fios aige c' àite 'bheil na mnca-mara 'breith. 

He, knovjs ivhere the ivhales breed. 

Said of one who pretends to knowledge of everything. 

Tha fios aige cia mèud a ni coig. 
He knows hov) many make five. 

Ta fios aige ca mheud gi'àinne pùnair a ghnidh cùig — He knows 
how many beans make five. — Ir. 

Tha fios fithich agad. 

You Jiave a raven's knowledge. 

That is, knowledge more than is natural. The raven was 
believed to possess supernatural knowledge, and of coming events 
in particular. This was also the Norse belief. Odin was said to 
have two ravens, which communicated everything to him. 

Tha fuasgladh a cheiste aige fhein. 
He has the solving of his own qticstion. 

Tha fuil feidh ort, 's cha tu fhein a mharbh e. 
There is deer's hlood on you, and you did not kill it 

Tha fuil ghointe 'n a cheann. 
He Ims bewitched blood in his head. 
Said of a person who seems infatuated. 
Al. sùil ghointe — a bewitched eye. 

Tha fuil mo mhuic-sa cheart cho mèith ri fuil do 

The blood of my pig is just as rich as the blood of yours. 

Tha gu leòr cho math ri cuilm. 
Enough is as good as a feast. — Ung., Scot. 
Ni helaethrwydd heb ddigon — No abundance without enough. — 

Genoeg is even zoo goed als een feest. — Dutch. 

Tha 'h-uile duine coir gun 'fheuchainn. 
Every man is good till he's tried. 

This was the ground taken on a remarkable occasion by the 
Enemy of Mankind. — See Job I. 

Tha'h-uile fear 'n a leomhan air a chuid fhein. 
Every man is a lion over vjJiat's his own. 
See * Is dàna '. 

The word in I\facintosh is not * a chuid,' but ' a cheaird,' which 
was probably a mistake. 


Tha i cho math air sniomhadh ris a' bhana-Glireugaicli. 
She is as good at spinning as the Greek ivoman. 
This seems to refer to Penelope. 

Tha iad air bhòrdaibh mora, 's air thubhailtean geala. 
They are at big tables, ivith ivhite tahle-cloths. 
Al. air bhòrd niòr, 's air àrd onoir, 'am broilleacha bùtlia — at 
big table and high honour, in the very centre of the booth. 

Said of ' uj)setting ' little people, getting among good company. 

Tha iad cho mor aig a cheile ri da cheann eich. 
Theg are as thick as two horse heads. 
Tha iad fad' air roiune nach urrainn leanailt 
They are far behind that cannot pursue. 
'Air roinne' is an old phrase, equivalent to *air deireadh,' 
generally obsolete, but still used in Tiree. 

Tha da ian bheag 's a' choill ud thall, 's tlieir an dara 
fear ris an fhear eile, ' 'S toigh learn thu, 's toigh learn 
thu'; 's their am fear eile, 'Dearbh sin, dearbli sin'. 

There are two little birds in yonder wood, and the one 
says to the other, ' I like you, I like you' ; and the other 
says, ' Prove it, prove it '. 

This is an imitation of the chirping of birds, but with a moral 

Tha làrach buain-fhòid air an athar, ni e latha math 
am màireach. 

There's the mark of turf-clearing in the sky, 'twill he 
fine to-morroio. 

This is a graphic description of a break among cirro-stratus 

Tha losgadh a chorraig 'n a chuimhne. 

He remembers the burning of his finger. 

Tha maragan 'us bantraichean ri 'n gabhail anns an teas. 

Puddings and widoivs must be taken ivhile they're hot. 

There are coarser English and Scottish versions of this saying. 

Tha 'mheòir an dèigh na sgait. 

His fingers are after the skate. 

Said of a bad piper. The saying originated with a young piper, 
who was being instructed at the Piper's College, at Boreraig in 
Skye. Having got skate to dinner one day, which he did not 
ajjprove of, and playing afterwards indifferently, he was asked 
what was wrong with him. ' The skate sticks to my fingers,' 
was his reply. 


Tha mi na 's eòlaiclie air coille, na 'blii fo eagal na 

/ am more accustomed to a looocl than to he afraid of 
an owl. 

I have lived too near a wood to be frightened by owls. — Emj. 

Tha mise cho mor as mo phoca 's a tha esaii as a bhalg. 

1 am as jyroud of my -poke as he is of his hag. 

Tha 'n an-shocair 's an t-an-fhacal aige. 

He hears the sJcaith and the scorn. 

Tha 'n cat 's an luath, thig frasan fuar. 

The cat's in the ashes, it's going to rain. 

Tha 'n clamhan gobhlach 'n am measg. 

Tlie fork-tailed kite is among them. 

Tha 'n deala 'snàmh, thig frasan blàth roimh fheasgar. 

The leech is swimming ; warm showers toill come ere 

Tha 'n cluine ionraic ionraic eadar bhun 'us bhàrr. 

Tlie upright is upright from head to foot. 

Tha 'n eubh a'm' chluais ; gu'n gleidheadh Dia na' s 
caomh leam ! 

The cry is in my car; God keep all icho are dear to me! 

A plaintive sound ringing in one's ear was considered a presage 
of death or calamity. 

Tha 'n seillean fo dhion ; thig gaillionn 'us sian. 
The hce keeps close ; a storm is at hand. 
Tha 'n t-àm cur anns na maidean. 
It is time to he starting. 

Lit. It is time to put (motion) into the sticks, i.e., the oars. This 
is a Tiree phrase. 

Tha 'n t-iasg 's a' chuan mar 'tha 'n sluagh air tir. 

The fish in the sea like us mortals he. 

Easily taken with bait, and generally going in shoals. 

Tha 'n tigh dorcha, ach an cridhe soilleir. 
The house is dark, hut the heart is Iright. 
Tha 'n t-im gann 's an Olaint. 
Butter is scarce in Holland. 

Said when anything is scarce where usually abundant. This 
saying probably origiuated with some Dugald Dalgetty. 


Tha 'n t-òlach ami an cliabli. 
The mad fellow is in a creel (strait-jacket). 
M 'Alpine (Diet.) says this is applied to people who have bad 
Gaelic ! 

Tha 'n t-seamrag a' pasgadh a còmhdaich, roimli 
tliuiltean dòirteach. 

The shamrock is folding its garments before heavy rain. 

Tha 'n uaill an aghaidh na tairbhe. 
Pride is opposed to profit. 

The translation of this in the 2nd Ed. of Macintosh is ' Pride 
is in the bull's front ' ! 

Tha 'n uaill 'n a bleidire cho mor ris an easbhuidh, 
agus ro mhoran na 's uaibhriche. 

Pride is as importunate as poverty, and much more 

Tha 'n uaisle mar a chumar i. 
Nobility is cts it's kept up. 
Tha 'n uchdach goirid ged 'tha 'n eallach trom. 
The brae is short, though the load be heavy. 
Tha na brògan 'an ceann shios an tigh-mhòine. 
Tlie shoes are in thefccr end of the peat-house. 
When the peats are done, people must put on their shoes, as 
they can't warm their feet any more at the lire. 

Tha rathad laimh ris an rathad mhor. 
There's another road near the highway. 

Tha rionnach air an athar, bidh latha math am 
màireach ann. 

There's a mackerel-sky, 'twill be fine to-morroio. 

Tha sin aig coin a' bhaile. 

The town {ot farm) dogs know that. 

Aeth hyny ar gyrn a phabau — That is gone 'Ufon horns and 
'pipes. — Welsh. It has become the talk of the town. 

Tha sin sgriobht' 'am bathais a' chait. 

That's written in the cat's forehead. 

Tha sinne mar a dh'fhaodas sinn, 's cha'n 'eil an righ 
fliein mar bu mhath leis. 

We are as best we may, and the king himself is not as 
he would wish to be. 


Tha 'siiìùideag fhein 'an ceann gach fò'd. 

Every jieat-end has its own smoA-e. 
Tha 'smùdan fèin a ceann gach fòid, 
Is dòruinn ceangailt ris gach math. — D. Buchanan. 

Ys id ar bawb ei bryder — To every one is his care.- — Welsh. 

Tha e 's a' cliuideachd, mar 'blia cù luideacli a' clieaird. 
He is in the company, like the tinkers shaggy dog. 

Tha taobh dubh 's taobh geal air, mar 'bha air bàta 
Mhic Iain Ghearr. 

He has a ivhite side and a hlach side, like the hoat 
of Short John's son. 

Mac Iain Ghearr (or Ghlorr)'s proper name was Archibald 
MacDonell. See 'Ged is fada'. He was a noted reaver, and 
followed a known practice of pirates in having his Jjoat and sails 
of different colours on each side. See Teachdaire Ur, Jan., 1836, 
p. 52. 

Tha teas an teine 'n a luirgnean. 

The heat of the fire is in his legs. 

Said of a ' cat griosaich,' one too fond of the fireside. 

Al. Tha teas na luaithre 'n an lurgann, or, a' d' labhran. 

Said of peoj)le going hastily from the hearth on business. 

Tha 'thapadh air teang' an Eirionnaich, ach 's ann 
an deigh làimh 'tha n Gaidheal glic. 

The Irishman's luit is on his tongue, hut the Gael is 
loise after the time. 

Cha vel y Vanninagh dy bragh creeney, dys y laa lurg y vargee 
— The Manxman is never wise till the day after the fair. — Manx. 

A Scotsman is aye Avise ahint the hand. — Scot. 

Tha thu cho lùrdanach ris a' bhalgaire bheag. 
Yoii are as sly as the little fox. 

Tha thu cho sona 's ged a robh clach 'ad chàbaig. 
You are as hapj^y as if your cheese tceighed a stone. 

Tha thu ro mhear — b'fheairrd' thu pòsadh. 

You are too merry — you ought to marry. 

The alliteration in English was too good to be avoided, but it 
is right to say, that ' mear ' in the original may mean more than 

Tha thusa 'sin fhathast, 's do bhial fo do shròin. 

You are still there, with your mouth under your nose. 


Tlia tliiisa mar blia tliu 'n uiridli, 's ged bhiodli tu 
na b'fheaiT, clia b'uilear. 

Yoic are as you were, last year, and if you ivere better, it 
luould he no more than ivas needed. 

Tha togail do bhothain fhèin ort. 

You have the up-hrinying of your hothy. 

Said to an ill-mannered person. 

Tha tri faobliair air lurga caillich, 'us bòrd-nrchair air 
a taobh. 

An oldivoman's leghas three edges,andherside a gumvale. 

Tlia tri la lucliair 's an Fhaoilleacli, 's trl la Faoillicli 
's an luchar. 

There are three of the Dog-days in February, and three 
February days in the Dog-days. 

Tha tuille 's a phaidir aige. 

He knoios more than his paternoster. 

Ta nios mo na jiliaidireaclia aige. — Ir. 

Al. Tha 'clireidimli catliarra ( = cathedra) aige. He has /j7.? 
pater and creed. It has been heard as an objection to a man's evi- 
dence being allowed, that he hadn't his ' creidimh catliarra '. 

Tha uaisle fo thuinn 'an Claun Lachain. 

TJiere is a hidden nobleness in the MacLachlans. 

Tha uiread de ainmeannan air ris an naosg. 

He has as many nanus as the snipe. 

The snipe is known under many names, e.g., Naosg, gobhar- 
adhair, meannan-adhair, croman-lòin, biitagochd, eun-ghurag. 

Thachair a bhràthair mòr ris. 

He has met his big brother. 

Thachair an cat riut air bàrr na stairsnich. 

You met the cat on tlie, threshold. 

The cat was considered an ill-omened creature. 

Thachair cleas tuath an droch thighearna dhaibh. 

TJie trick of the bad landlord's tenants befell them. 

Thachair ludh an uinnsinn fhiadhaich dha ; cinnidh e 
gu math, ach millidh e 'chraobh a bhios an taice ris. 

The vxiy of the vjild ash befell him; it groius luell, but 
kills the tree that's near it. 

Thàinig gille gu Mac-a-leisg. 

Mac-Lazy has got a servant. 

Said when a lazy messenger is saved the trouble of going on an 
errand, by the coming of another messenger. 


Thàinig caoraich Gheansaidh a' raoir, s' dh' ith iad e. 

The Guernsey sheep came last night and ate it. 

Said of anything that has mysteriously disappeared, or that 
never existed. ' Caoraich Gheansaidh ' is applied to any imaginary 
creatures. The saying is Hebridean, but the origin of it is un- 
known. Guernsey potatoes used to be known in Skye. 

Tliàinig ialtag a steach, bidh frasan a mach air ball. 
A hat has come in, it's going to rain. 

Theab 's cha d' rinn, cù 's miosa 'bha riamh 's an 

Almost, hut didn't, the worst dog in the Fingalian pack. 

Theagamh gu'n tig do bho gii m' bhuaile-sa fhathast. 
Perhaps your cow may come to my fold yet. 
Wha w'ats wha may keep sheep anither day. — Scot. 
Theid an fheala-dhà gu feala-tri. 
The joke may end in earnest. 
See ' Is trie a chaidh'. 

Theid an leanabh a dholaidh eadar a nihuime 's a 

Between his iiurse and his mother, the child will he spoiled. 

Theid an sannt os cionn na h-aithne. 

Greed ivill overcome acquaintanceship. 

Theid an t-annmhunn dichioUach thar an làidir leisg. 

The diligent weak will heat the lazy strong. 

Theid an t-eòlas thar a' chàirdeas. 

Acquaintance goes heyond relationship. 

See ' Is fhearr caraid '. 

Theid barail an duine ghlic faisg do n fhirinn. 

The wise man's opinion will go near the truth. 

Theid cathadh Earraich troimh bhòrd daraich. 

Spring snoio-drift will go through an oaken door. 

Theid dubhag ri dualchas. 

The swarthy girl takes after her hlood. 

Al. Theid cuilean ri dualchas. 

Theid duine gu bàs air sgàth a nàire. 
A man will die to save his honour. 
See ' Is beò duine '. 


Theid dùthclias an aghaidh nan creag. 

Nature will ivithstand the rocks. 

This might be rendered, ' Blood against everything,' an intensely 
Highland sentiment, expressive of the feeling known as 'clan- 
nisliness '. 

Theid molt dheth 'n fhear chadalach, 'us mart dheth 'n 
fhear cheilidheach. 

The sleepy man vnll lose a vxddev, the gad-alout a cov:. 

The loss of the lazy man is small compared with that of the 

Theid neart thair ceart. 
Might vjill prevail over right. 
Theid seòltachd thai spionnadh. 
Cunning heats strength. 

Oni byddi gryf, bydd gj^frwys — If thou art not strong, he cun ■ 
ning. — JVelsh. 

Theid trian daltachd ri goistidheachd. 
j4 third of fostership) goes to sponsorship. 
This means that the bond to a foster-father is three times as 
strong as that to a godfather. 

Their gach fear ' Ochoin, mi fhein !' 

Every one cries 'Alas for me!' 

Thig a' mharcachd 's na h-eich mhora leo fhein. 

Riding comes naturally to fidl-grov:n horses. 

Applied to hereditary tendencies. 

Thig an fhirinn a mach le tubaist. 

Truth comes out ly accident. 

Thig an itheadh air an imlich. 

Eating comes of licking. 

Thig an t-acras na 's trice na aon uair. 

Hunger comes oftener than once. 

Thig an donas ri 'iomradh. 

EvU, comes ly talking of it. 

Al. Thig an t-olc ri 'iomradh. 

Speak o' the Deil, and he'll appear.— (Scoi. Talk of the Devil, 
and see his horns. — Eng. 

Als men van den diiivel spreekt, dan rammelt reeds zijn geb- 
eente (you hear his bones rattle). — Dutch. 

Whtin you speak of the wolf, prepare the stick for him. — Arab. 

Wann mann den Wolf nennt, so kommt er gerennt. — Germ. 

Quand on parle du loup, on en voit la queue. — Fr. 


Tliig dànadas gu drocli oilean. 

Boldness leads to had manners. 

Nimia familiaritas contemptum parit. — Led. 

Too much familiarity breeds contempt.— £■?((/. 

La mucha familiaridad engendra menosprecio. — Simn, 

A muita conversa9ao he causa de inenos pre90. — Port. 

Thig Dia re aire, 's clia 'n aire an uair a thig. 

God comes in distress, and distress goes when he comes. 

Man's extremity is God's opportunity. 

Thig eairleigeadh air an righ. 

Exigencies come on kings. 

Thig fear an t-saoghail fhad' as gaeh càs. 

The man of long life will come out of every trouble. 

See Tear an t-saoghail fhada'. 

Thig fear na h-iarraidh gun sireadh, aeh fear na fiach 
cha tig idir. 

The man that ivants comes unasked; the man that owes 
comes not at all. 

Thig gaeh ole ri aois — thig baothachd, thig boile, thig 

Every ill comes with age — silliness, raving, death. 

See ' Is ioma leannan '. 

Thig innleachd li aimbeart. Want hrecds ingenuity. 

'Evpdris apa iari Xoyia-fiiuv rj avdyKi]. — Gr. (Heliodorus). Neces- 
sity is the mother of invention. — Encj. Necessite est mere 
d'invention. — Fr. Need maks a man o' craft. — Scot. Noth lehrt 
Kiinste. — Germ. De armoede is de moeder van alle kunsten. — 

Thig iomad olc a aon ole. Many ills flow from one. 

AiKT] oiKTjv i'riKTe, Koi /3Xa/3rji/ (BXafdrj. — Gr. 
Litem parit lis, noxa item noxam serit. — Lat. 

Thig la a' ehoin duibh fhathast. 

The black dog's day toill yet come. 

In olden times, MacPhie of Colonsay had a great black hound, 
of which it was predicted that it would never do but one day's 
good service. It grew up an idle useless animal, but its master 
resisted all proposals to have it given away or killed. The day 
came when it did noble service for its master, though it could not 
save his life. 

Thig Latha-Nollaig, Christmas-day will come. 
Said of persons long of coming. 


Thig math a mulad, 's thig sonas a snaimlmeas. 
Good comes of sadness, and happiness from quietness. 
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the 
house of feasting.— EccL. vii. 2. 

Thig nòs do mliàthar as, do shròin. 
Your mother's first milk ivill come out of your nose. 
Al. Thig sin as do shròin, 's theid an cràdhadh ìnnte. 
That loill come out of your nose, aiidpain ivill go into it. 
These are threats or predictions of chastisement. 

Thig ri latha nach tig ri linn. 

There ivill come in a day what vjon't in an age. 

Al. Thig rud ri am {or nine) nach tig ri aimsir. 

Al. Thig ri aon uair rud nach tig ri dhà dhiag. 

Accidit in puncto, quod non contingit in anno. — Lat. 

Accasca in un punto quel che non accasca in cento anni. — Ital. 

To (f)epei fj cùpa, xpovos 8èv rà (fiepei. — Mod. Gr. 

II advient souvent en un jour ce qui n' ad%'ieut en cent ans.— i*"?-. 

It happeth in one hour, that happeth not in seven years. — Eng. 

Thig sgrios air àlach na mollachd. 

Destruction shcdl come on the cursed hrood. 

The seed of the -ndcked shall be cut off. — Psalm xxxvii. 28. 

Thigeadh dha fhein a bhi 'n a oighre, an ti a shireas 
air gach aon neach. 

It vjouhl ivell become him to be an heir, who begs from 

Tliiginn gn d' choimhead ged bhiodh tu ag còmhnuidh 
an cos creige. 

I would come to see you, though you lived in a rock-cave. 

Thilg e 'n cearcal-màis. He has cast the bottom-hoop. 
He has thrown off aU restraint. 

Thoir bean a Ifrinn, 's bheir i dh' a tigh fliein thu. 
If you take a vnfe from Hell, shell take you home with 

Al. bheir i rithist ann \h.n— she'll britig you back there. 

Thou- dhomh comith. Let me share your food. 

Thoir do 'gliii-robh-math' do'n choileach. 

Give your thanks to the cock. 

A recommendation of early rising. Gu'n robli math agaibh, 
good he u-ith you ( = thank you), is the ordinary addition to a reply 
to ' How do vou do ? ' 


Tlioir do phathadli do'n allt, mar a ni an cù. 

Quench your thirst from the stream, as the dog does. 
An excellent motto for Temperance Societies. 

Thoir ian a nead glan. 

Take a hird out of a clean nest. 

Choose a wife of good parents. See '• Pòs nighean '. 

Thoir leat a' bho do 'n chaisteal, 's theid i dhachaidli 
do'n bhàthaich. 

Tahe the cow to the castle, and shell go home to the hyre. 

Ca' a coo to the ha', and she'll rin to the byre. — Scot. 

An ox remains an ox, even when driven to Vienna. — Hungar. 

Thoir òMeach do 'n bhalach, 's gabhaibh e 'n reis. 
Give the iinjncdent fellow an inch, and he'll take an ell. 
Gie a carl yir finger, and he'll tak' yir haill hand. — Scot. 

Thoir spid do d' charaid ; 's ann air do mhuirichinn 
fhein a laidheas e. 

Throw reproach on your kinsman , it will rest on your 

A very good and wise advice : clannishness in its commendable 

Thoir thusa nuas an rionnag sin, 's blieir raise nuas an 
rionnag eile, ars' an duine beag ris an duine mhor. 

Bring you down that star, mid Fit bring down another, 
as the little man said to the big man. 

Thug e breab 's a' bhuaraich. 
He kicked in the shackles. 
Buarach = cow-fetter. 

Thug e 'cheann fo'n choil:e. 

He betook him to the ivood. 

At. Thug e 'choille fo 'cheann. 

A common thing in olden times for outlaws or men in peril. 

Thug iad aghaidh am buill 's an caman air. 

They turned all their force against him. 

Lit. turned their balls and shinty clubs on him. 

Thuigeadh mo sheanmhair sin, 's bha i da linn air a 

My grandmother coidd understand that, and she was 
two generations behind. 


Thuit a dlià làimh ri' thaobh. 
Both Ms hands fell at his sides. 
A case of total collapse. 

Thuit an Tarbh-coill' orra. 

The forest-hull fell on them. 

Macintosh says this means, that a misfortune befell them. The 
' tarbh-coill' was a dark cloud, which, if seen on New Year's eve, 
portended a dark and stormy season. The ideas connected with 
this ' Tarbh-coille ' and the ' Dàir na coille ' (q.v.) remind of the 
' genitabilis aura ' of Lucretius. 

Thuit an tubaist air an Dùghlas. 

Mishap has fallen on the Douglas. 

This saying applies to more than one of the great house of 
Douglas, as may be seen by those who read Home of Godscroft's 
delightful history. 

Tigh a thubhadh gun a shiomaineachadh, saothair 

Thatching a house ivithout ro])ing it, vain labour, 

Tigh do sheanar dhut ! 

Your grandfathers dwelling to you ! 

Tigh Eoghain mhic Iain bhuidhe dhut ! 
The house of Ewen son of yellow John to you ! 

Tigh gun chù, gun chat, gun leanabh beag, tigh gun 
ghean, gun ghàire. 

A house without dog, without cat, without child, a house 
without cheerfidness or laughter. 

A I. gun cheòl-gaire. 

This pretty proverb appears to be purely native. 

Tigh òsda, muileann, 'us ceardach, na tri aitean a's 
fhearr air son naigheachd. 

An inn, a mill, and a smithy, the three best places for 

Tinneas-feachd. Army-sickness. 
Sickness on the day of battle, = cowardice, 

Tinneas nan Dònullach. The MacDonald sickness. 

Armstrong (Diet., p. 297) says this was a kind of pulmonary 
affection called ' glacach'. It is said that the family of the Lords 
of the Isles received a charm from some shipwrecked foreigner to 
whom they showed kindness, by which they could heal this com- 
plaint. A ' duan ' was repeated over the patient, who was then 


touched with the right hand. In the following rhyme this healing 
gift is alluded to : — 

Mor DhonuUaich Shleibhte, 

D' an geilleadh an galar, 

Teichidh Glacach an eig, 

'S theid as da gu h-ealamh. 

Tiodhlac na cloinne bige, 'g a tlioirt *s 'g a glirad- 

The little children's gift, given and soon asked hack. 

O' bairns' gifts ne'er be fain ; nae suner they gie but they seek 
it again. — Scot. 

Tabhartas Ui-Nèill, 's a dhà shùil 'n a dhhigh— O'Neill's gift, 
and his two eyes after it. — Ir. 

Tionailidh maoin maoin ; agus tionailidh fiachan 

Wealth draws wealth, and debt draws debt. 
Tir nam Beann, 's nan Gleann, 's nan Gaisgeach. 
The land of Mountains, Glens, and Heroes. 
This is a favourite motto and toast. Another version is, 
Tir nan gleann, 's nam beann, 's nam breacan. 
The land of glens, and bens, and tartans. 

Tiugainn, ars' an Pdgh; Fuirich, gus am faod, ars' 
a' Ghaoth. 

Come away, said the King ; Wait till you may, said 
the Wind. 

Tiugh no tana, 's math teth e. 

Tliich or thin, it's good hot. 

Togaidh an obair an fhianais. 

The work will bear witness. 

Togar earn mor de chlachan beaga. 

A big cairn may be raised of small stones. 

Toiseach agus deireadh na sine, clachan mine meallain. 

TJie beginning and end of the rain-storm, small hailstones. 

Toiseach na coille, 'us deireadh na feithe. 

Go first through the wood, and last through the bog. 

Tosach coille a's deire mona. — Ir. 

A wise practical advice. 

Toiseach teachd 'us deireadh falbh. 

First to come, and last to go. 

The motto of Gaul Mac Morn. See GiUies's ' Sean Dana,' p. 


Toradh math 's a' chuid eile ! 

/ wish yon good of the remainder ! 

An expression of thanks, when one has received part of anything. 

Toradh na feudalach gun am faicmn. 

TJie fruit of the cattle that have not leen seen. 

Tràth bhios tuar a' dol as air na gobhair, cha bheir iad 
ach buic. 

When the goats die out, they bring forth only hucks. 

Treabhaidh na daoidhean, 's cha dean na saoidhean 
ach treabhadh. 

Tlie wicked till, and the good can hut till. 

He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and 
sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. — Matth. v. 45. 

Treabhaidh an treabhaiche math fearann an amhlair. 
Tlie good ploughman ivill j)lough the land of the fool. 
The wise and able will, in the natural course of things, take 
the place of the incapable. 

Treas donas a' ghille-ghnothaich, a bhi fada 'muigh 
gun dad fhaotainn. 

The third vice of the message-lad, to he long away and 
hring hack nothing. 

Treas sonas mhic an tuathanaich, nighean air a' chiad 

The third good-luck of the farmer's son, a daughter foir 
his eldest child. 

Treubhach a muigh, agus meadhrach a's tigh. 

Brave abroad, and cheery at home. 

The Highland type of a man of the right sort. 

Treubhantas an duine bhig — fead 'us fuaim. 
The small mans valour, a whistle and a noise. 

Tri aois coin, aois eich ; 

Tri aois eich, aois duine ; 

Tri aois duine, aois feidh ; 

Tri aois feidh, aois firein ; 

Tri aois firein, aois craoibh-dharaich. 

Thrice clog's age, age of Iwrse ; 

TJirice horse's age, age of man ; 

Thrice man's age, age of deer ; 


Tlirice deer's age, age of eagle ; 
Tlirice eagle's, age, age of oak. 

There are stories told of deer attributing ante-diluvian age to 
them ; but that here said of the eagle has not even such authority. 

Tri mollachdan an tuatlianaich, an Taoitear Sàileach, 
reodhadh Cèitein, 'us ceo luchair. 

The tenant's three curses, the Tutor of Kintail, May 
frost, and July fog. 

This is a Kintail saying, referring presumably to Sir Eoderick 
Mackenzie, Tutor of Kintail during the minority of his nephew, 
the first Earl of Seaforth. He ruled with a rod of iron, and made 
himself detestable to the tenantry. 

Tri rudan a's mios' a rinn duine riabli — eirigh bho 
'bhiadli gun altachadh ; eirigh bho 'mhnaoi fhein gu 
mnaoi fir eile ; 's eirigh bho Aifrinn gun a h-eisdeachd. 

Three of the vjorst things inan ever did — to rise from 
food without graee ; to rise from his own wife to another 
man's; to rise from Mass ivithout listening. 

Tri rudan cho fuar 's a th' ann, glùn fir, adharc mairt, 
'us sròn coin. 

Three of the coldest things, a man's knee, a cov/s horn, 
and a dog's nose. 

Tri subhailcean a' Bhàird — cìocras coin gu Ian a 
bhronn' ; fios fithich a' ruith gu ròic ; tart frithir gu 
Ò1 a dhràm. 

Three gifts of the Bard — the dog's hunger for a feed ; 
a raven's bidding to a feast ; an impatient man's thirst 
for his dram. 

This is not very ancient, nor very true. But it did apply, and 
does, to some men calling themselves Bards, and passing for such 
with the ignorant. 

Triùir a thig gun iarraidh — Gaol, Eud, 'us Eagal. 

Three that come unhidden — Love, Jealousy, and Fear. 

Trod a' bhodaich ris a' cheathairn. 

The old man's scolding of the eaterans. 

Very ineffectual — like some protests that have been seen in 
modern times against military invasions and grand spoliations. 

Trod a' mheasain 's a chùl ri balla. 

The harking of the lap-dog with his hack to a wall. 

Ye're like the dowgs o' Dunragit, ye winna bark unless ye hae 
yir hinner end to the wa'.— Scoi. See * Is dàna cuilean ', 


Trod chàirdean, 'us sìth naimhdean, dà rud nach coir 
feairt a thoirt orra. 

Tiie scolding of friends, and the peace of enemies, hvo 
things not to he regarded. 

Trod nam ban mu'n sgarbh, 's an sgarbh a muigh air 
an loch. 

The scolding of the wives about the scart, and the scart 

out on the loch. 

Like disposing of the hare before it's caught. 

Trodaidh na builg fhalamh. 
Empty Uadders make a noise. 
See ' Is labhar '. 

Tromb gun teanga. A trump without a tongue. 
' Trump ' is Scotch for ' Jew's harp '. 

Tuarasdal a' cheaird — pàidheadh roimh làimh. 

The tinker's wages — paid beforehand. 
In other words, money thrown away. 

Tuarasdal na circe, Ian a sgròbain. 
The hens wages, her crop-full. 
Tubhadh na li-àtha air a' mhuilinn. 
Tlie thatch of the kiln on the mill. 
Tir the kiln to thack the mill. — Scot. 
Eobbing Peter to pay Paul. 

Tuig thus' an t-eathar, 's tuigidh an t-eathar thù. 

Understand the boat, and the boat will undei^stand you. 

An excellent Hebridean saying. A boat, a horse, a man or 
woman, can be managed only by one who understands them, and 
whom they will understand accordingly. 

Tuigidh bean bean eile. 

One luoman understands another woman. 

They generally do so better than men. 

Tuigidh CÙ a chionta. A dog knows when he does wrong. 

Tuigidh e rud 'am broinn snip. 

Hell understand a thing hid in a wisp. 

He'll understand a hint conveyed in some trivial shape. 

Tuigidh fear-leughaidh leth-fhacal. 

A reading man loill understand ludf a word. 

One word is enough for the wise.— .4ra&. 

Verbum sat sapienti. — Lat. 


Tuigidh na bailbh a cheile. 

The dumb understand each other. 

Tuigidh ua geòidh fheiu a cheile. 

Even the geese uiiderstand each other. 

Tuilleadh air a' chàrnan. 

More iqDon the little cairn. 

Tuireadh a reir an fhuinn. 

Lament according to the tunc. 

Tuislichidh an t-each ceithir-chasach. 

The four-footed horse may stumble. 

Gheibh bèathach cheithre g-cos tuisleadh. — Ir. 

A horse wi' four feet may snapper by a time. — Scot. 

A horse stumbles that hath four legs. — Eng. 

Anco il cavallo si stanca, sebben ha quattro piedi. — Ital. 

Een paard met vler pooten struikelt wel. — Dutch. 

II n 'y a cheval si bon qui ne bronche. — Fr. 

Tuiteam eadar long 'us làinihrig. 

Falling bettvecn ship and landing-place. 

Tuitidh a' chraobh a bhithear a' sior shnaidheadli. 

The tree that is constantly hcived at will fall. 

Tuitidh cliabh gun iris, 's theid a' bhriag do h-ionad 

A ropeless creel will fcdl, and the lie vjill go to its own 

Tuitidh ton eadar dha chathair, agus tigheadas eadar 
dha mhuinntir. 

Seat conies down betimen two chairs, and housekeep- 
ing betv:een two families. 

Turns nam ban thun a' bhaistidh. 

The wives' journey to the christening. 


Uaisle gun chuid, 'us maragan gun gheir. 
Birth without means, and puddings without suet. 
Al. Clag mu chuaille, bean-uasal fhalamh. 
A cudgel hung with hells, a lady without means. 

Ubh aig eireig, 's bean aig sgalaig. 

A young hen with an egg, and a farm-servant with a, 

Creatures with a sense of their superior importance, in respect 
of what they have achieved. 

An addition sometimes given is, ' Breid air sean-nighinn, 's i 'g 
a shìor-chàradh — An old maid with a head-dress, continually getting 

Ubh gun im gun salann, 'an ceann sheachd bliadhna 
thig a ghalar. 

An egg tvithout hitter or salt will breed a disease after 
seven years. 

See ' Aran 'us uibhean '. 

Ubh na circe 'dol a shireadh ubh a' gheòidh. 

The hen-egg going to seek the goose-egg. 

The hen's egg gaes to the ha' to bring the guse's egg awa. — Scot. 

' Spoken when poor people give small gifts to be doubly repaid.' 
— Kelly. 

Al. Ubh na circe duinne 'dol do'n tigh-mhor, gun ubh a' 
gheoidh a thoirt as. 

The brown hen^s egg going to the big house, without bringing back 
the goose-egg. 

Uidh air n-uidh thig an t-slàinte, 's 'n a tonna mor' an 

By degrees comes health, hut in great waves comes sick- 

Al. Muin air mhuin thig an easlainte, ach uidh air n-uidh 
thig an t-slàinte. 


Uilleadh na bà am mach 's a steach, mur leighis sin 
an Gàidheal, cha 'n 'eil a leigheas ann. 

The oil of the cow, without and within, if that won't 
heal the Gael, there's no cure for him. 

Al. Uraireachd na bà — The fat of the coiv. 

Milk, cream, butter, neat-foot oil, are all included. 

Uir, ùir, air sùil Odlirain ! mu'n labhair e tnille còmh- 

Earth, earth on Oran's eye ! lest he talk more. 
The story to which this saying is supposed to refer is, that at the 
time of founding his religious establishment at Zona, St. Columba 
received divine intimation that one of his companions must be 
buried alive, as a sacrifice necessary to the success of the imder- 
taking, and that St. Oran offered himself, and was duly interred. 
On the third day St. Colimiba went and opened the grave, to see 
how his friend fared. Presently Oran raised his eyes, and uttered 
these words, 

Cha 'n 'eil am bàs 'n a iongantas, 
No Ifrinn mar a dh' aithrisear. 
Death is no wonder, nor is Hell as it is said. 
The story goes that St. Columba, shocked by such sentiments, 
exclaimed in the words above given, and covered up St. Oran 
again as fast as possible. 

The above is the substance of a quotation given by Macintosh, 
in a note on this saying, but without naming the author. A 
better version of Oran's words, got from Tiree, is 

Cha 'n 'eil an t-Eug 'n a annas, 

'S cha 'n 'eil Ifrinn mar a dubhrar } 

Cha teid math am mugh, 

'S cha bhi olc gim dioladJi. 

Death is nothing strange, 

Nor Hell as has been said ; 

Good will not perish, 

Nor evil be unpunished. 
It was part of this tradition, that Oran used to dispute with 
Columba about the torments of the future, and entertained laxer 

The story of St. Oran's burial appears first in the old Irish life 
of St. Columba, of which Mr. Skene gives a translation by Mr. W. 
M. Hennessey at the end of Vol. II. of his Celtic Scotland, and of 
which the original was printed for the first time by Mr. Whitley 
Stokes in his Three Middle Irish Homilies. It is as follows,— 
' Colum CUle then said to his people, ' It is well for us that our 
roots should go under ground here ' ; and he said to them, ' It is 
permitted to you that some one of you go under the earth of this 
island to consecrate it '. Odran rose up readily, and thus he said, 


' If thou wouldst accept me,' he said, ' I am ready for that '. ' O 
Odran,' said Cohim Cille, ' thereof thou shalt have the reward, 
viz., to none shall his request be granted at my grave unless from 
thee he seek it first.' Odran then went to heaven. He then 
founded the church of Hii.' There is no mention here, or in any 
other ■WTÌting, of the strange event of the thiixl day. 

Oran is not even named by Adamnan ; nor is he included in 
the oldest list of the twelve companions of Columba. The Oran 
after whom Re'ilig Odhrain, Oran's burial-place, is named, is 
designated ' Abbot ' by Angus the Culdee, and his death is re- 
corded in the Annals of the Four Masters in the year 548, i.e., 
fifteen years before Columba came to Scotland. The result is, 
that the above curious story and saying are left without a par- 
ticle of historical foundation. As an invention, however, they 
are both interesting and instructive. 

Uisge beatha 'bhalaicli mhoir, òlaniaid gun taing e. 

The great churl's ivhisky, let %is drink it, and no thaiiks 
to him. 

This is the only proverb in all the present collection in which 
whisky is mentioned ; and it is not an old one. 

Uisge donn na duilleig; uisge dubh nam friamh, 's 
uisge glas a' Cheitein, tri uisgeachan a's mios' a tli' ann. 

The brown rain at the fall of the leaf; the black rain at 
the springing of roots ; and the gray rain of May ; the 
three worst of waters. 

Of a quite different import is another similar saying, Uisge 
donn na duillich, tha e ro-mhath do na fearaibh òg — The bivwn 
rain of the foliage i& very good for young men. 

Uisge mor a sgaoileas ceo. 
Heavy rain scatters mist. 
See 'Gaoth tuath'. 

Uisge teth bho'n bhuain, 's uisge fuar blio 'n àr. 
Hot water after reaping, cold water after ploughing. 
Al. bho 'n chrann. 

For washing ; hot water in warm weather, cold water in Spring ; 
very sensible advice. 

Urcliair a' mhaodail air a' bhrochan. 
The paunch's hit at the porridge. 
Urchair an doill mu'n dabhaich. 
The blind man's shot at the tub. 

Al. Mar 'thilg an dall a phloc — As the blind man threw his 

Mai dall yn tawlu eiflfon. — Welsh. 


According to a certain story, Dabhach was the name of Ossian's 
wife, and the blind old bard one day, provoked by something, 
threw a deer's bone at her, and missed. — See Campbell's Leabliar 
na Feinne, p. 38. 

Urnuigh an diugh, 's briagan am màireach. 
Prayers to-day, and lies to-morrow. 

Urnuigh maraiche re stoirm. 
A sailor's prayer in a storm. 
Passato il pericolo, gabbato il santo. — Ital. 
See Rabelais, B. IV., c. 19, Of Panurge and Friar John in the 

Urram a' bhleidire do 'n stràcair. 
The sneak's deference to the swaggerer. 



Out of a number of proverbs and phrases, got too late 
for insertion in their alphabetical places, or omitted, the 
following have been selected : — 

A' cur bruic a 'ladhran. 

Kicking badgers out of his heels. 

Said of one in a great rage. 

A' cur a' sgileam air a' sgoileam. 

Making a noise about a trifle. 

This is a specimen of unmeaning words used to express something. 

A mhic a' chait d'am bu dual am bainne òl ! 

Soil of the cat, born to drink milk ! 

Air a' ghabhail sin fheiu. 

On that footing, be it so. 

Am fear a bhios trie 'an gàbbadh, theid a bhàthadh uair-eigin. 

The man v:ho often is in danger will be some day drowned. 

This is undoubtedly Hebridean. 

Am fear a chriomas, ionnlaideadh. 

Let him that picks wash. 

He that soUs his fingers must clean himself. 

Am fear a 's mo a gbeabb, 's e a's mo a dh' iarras. 

He that gets most will ask m,ost. 

An dubh-liath cuid an amadain, 's a' sgamhan cuid na h-òinnsich. 

The spleen the fooVs part, the lights the silly woman's. 

An rud a bhios sàmbach cba chluiun na luchain e. 

What is silent the mice won't hear. 

An rud a theid 's a' bhrù, theid a shugh do na casan. 

What goes into the belly sends its sap to the feet. 
An taobh a bheir thusa do chùl, na 'm bu tig an t-aon la a 
bheir thu t-aghaidh ! 

Wliere you turn your back, may you never turn your face ! 
An uair a thig righ ùr, thig lagh ùr. 

fVìien a new king comes, neiv laws come. 


Anail a' Gliàidheil — air a' mhullach. 

The Gael's breathing -place — oii the the summit. 

Right up Ben Lomond could he press, 

And not a sob his toil confess. — Scott. 

Aon la 's-t-Earracli, naoidh a's t-Fhoghar. 
One day in Spring, nine in Autumn. 

Bainne nan gobhar fo chobliar 's e blàtla, 's e chuir a' spionnadh 
's na daoine a bha. 

Goat milk foaming and warm, that gave their strength to our 

Baobh sam bith a ni guidhe, far an teoth' an gaol, 's ann a's 
tniim' am buille. 

WTien a wicked woman curses, where the love is hottest, there the 
blow is heaviest. 

Barail a' bhruic air a ladbran, barail bhochd. 

The badger's opinion of his own claws, a poor opinion. 

Bheireadh e gàir' air gamliainn. 

It would make a stirk laugh. 

Bhrist thu air gàradh an t-sagairt. 

You have broken the priest's wall. 

Said to children when they lose teeth in their seventh year, at 
which time they are supposed in the Roman Church to become re- 

Bodachan beag 'an taobh tigh' a mhna. 

A little old body at the side of his ivife's house. 

Breac a' mhuiltein air an athar ; la math am màireach, 

A dappled sky to-day ; a good day to-morrow. 

Caib air no dlieth, cum do chas air a' sgonnan. 

Iron on or off, keep your foot on the peg. 

The ' caib ' of the old crooked spade, ' cas-chrom, ' was the iron with 
which it was pointed ; the ' sgonnan ' was the peg on which the right 
foot was pressed. The meaning is, ' Keep working, even with a defec- 
tive implement '. 

Carraig Phàidein fo na bridich. 

Pat'$ rock under pigmies. 

This is a Tiree saying, probably of Irish origin, applied to anything 
venerable under foot of the unworthy. The Rev. Mr. Campbell, 
from whom I got it, says that Pàidein is the diminutive of Pàdruig, 
and := Pat or Paddy, whence MacFadyen. But he knows no place of 
the name of 'Carraig Phàidein,' neither do I. Can it possibly refer to 
'Creag-Phàdruig' near Inverness? Another version, however, makes 
it 'Carraig-Fhearguis,' Carrickfergus, a well known place. 

Cha b'fhearr a' chreach air an d'fhuair. 

The spoil by which it was got was no better. 

Said when a tenant comes to grief in land taken unmercifully from 


Cha bhi cuimhn' air an aran nach fhan anns a' sgòrnan. 
The bread is forgot that ixisses the throat. 

Cha bhi 'trod ach an cuid aodaich. 

Onlij their clothes will quarrel. 

Cha bhòrd bòrd gun aran, ach 's bòrd aran leis fhein. 

A table sans bread is no table, but bread is a table itself. 

Cha chumadh an Righ snaoisean ris a' ghaoith. 

The King himself couldn't keep the wind in snuff. 

Cha chumar cas bheò 'am balg. 

Living legs can't he kept in bags. 

This ' dubh-fhacal ' seems to refer to the same thing as ' Cha do 
chuir thu do dha chois fhathast 's an aon osan — You haven't yet put 
both your legs in one hose, = shroud. 

Cha dean làmh ghlan eòrna. 
Cleaìi hand won't make barley. 
Cha do chailleadh bàta riamh, 's i 'ginlan nan seol. 
A boat teas never lost that carried her sail. 

Cha do loisg duine riamh a thigh roimh 'n chreich ach aon 
duine, 's ghabh e aithreachas. 

None ever burnt his house before the foray but one, and he repented. 
The anticipated foray never came ! 

Cha d' rug fear na caithris riamh air fear na moch-eiridh. 
The night-watcher never overtook the early-riser. 
Cha leasachadh air droch obair-latha bhi fada gun tòiseachadh. 
It's no mending of a bad day's work to be long of beginning. 
Al. gun sgur — icithout stopping. 

Cha mhair a' glirian mhaidne re an latha. 

The morning sun won't last all day. 

Cha 'n aithnichinn e ged thachradh e 'n am bhrochan orm. 

I shouldn't know him if I met him in my grxiel. 

Cha 'n ann de mo chuideachd thu, cha 'n ann de mo chuideachd 
thu, ars an colman. 

You are not of my flock, not of my flock, said the dove. 

This is a pretty imitation of the cooing of a dove. 

Cha 'n 'eil bradan gun a leth-bhreac. 

There's no salmon without peer. 

Anglers sometimes need to be reminded of this. 

Cha 'n 'eil earbsa sa bith ri 'chur annf? na h-Eileanaich. 

There is no trust to be put in the Islanders. 

A Lorn saying, originating probably in the difficulty of Islanders, 
who had to depend on the weather, in keeping their engagements. 

Cha 'n 'eil fhios co a's glice, fear a chaomhnas na fear a 

None can say which is wiser^ he that saves or he that spends. 


Cha 'n fhiach òrdugli oidhclie. 

Night orders are not good. 

This is of the same sense as ' Day will hring counsel '. There are 
old legends of hunters and others, who wished for their loves at night, 
and were visited by Fairy women or vampires, and killed. 

Cha robh corca math riamh gun shiolman. 
No good oats ever were without refuse. 

Cha robh cron air ach an cron a Ijh' air Fionn. 
He had no fault but that of Fingal. 

Fingal's one fault was that he was only 8 feet high, while all the 
rest of his comrades were taller. 

Cha robh molach nach ro sona. 
None was hairy but was happy. 
See ' Cha bhi sonas air bus lom '. 

Cha sheas càirdeas air a' leth-chois. 
Friendship won't stand on one leg. 

Cha tugadh cu gearr 'earball as uat. 

A tail-less dog wouldn't take his tail from yon. 

Said of very sharp people. 

Chaidh tu gu Dunbheagain orm. 

You went to the extreme with me. 

Lit. to Dunvcgan. A Lochaber saying. 

Cho fileanta ri uileann fidhleir. 
As tuneful as a fiddler's elbow. 

Clann Diarmaid nam biisa dubha, cuiribh riu 'us beireabh orra. 
The black-mouthed MacDiarmids, go at them and catch them. 
This probably refers to the MacDiarmids of Glen Lyon, 

Clann Fhionghain nam faochag. 

The Mackinnons of wilks. 

A common nickname in Skye. This surname is usually written 
'Mac lonmhuinn,' founded on a pretty but fanciful etymology. A 
more probable derivation traces the clan to one called Fingan. 

Cnàmhan a' chinn-aghairt. 
The jnllow-hmd gnawing. 
A curtain lecture. 

Coin bhadhail 'us clann dhaoin' eile. 
Stray dogs and other people's children. 

Coltach ri casag Iain Ruaidh Bhuidhe, gun cliumadh gun 

Like yellow red John's coat, without shape or elegance. 

Crann a reir a' bhata. 
A mast to suit the boat. 


Dail-na-cille, 's Dail-a-glilinne, 's Dail mhòr Chrònaig, 'n uair 
'theid sin a threabhadh, theid a' ghort a Cinn-a'-Ghearr-Loch. 

Dalnakill, Dalglen, and great Dalchronaig ; when these are 
ploughed, there v:ill he no more dearth in Kingairloch. 

Three sequestered and uncultivated spots in Kingairloch. The 
saying points to a state of things common in olden times, but which 
now, happily, need not be feared. 

Dean suidhe, 'thàiUeir ; 's dean .suidhe, 'thnairuear ; suidlieadh 
càcli mar a's deise ; suidliidh mise ri taobli an leisteir. 

Sit down, tailor ; sit down, turner ; let the rest sit as is best ; I'll 
sit beside the arrow-maker. 

In the Preface to Ronald Macdonald's Collection of Songs, a more 
imperfect version of this proverb is given, as an illustration of the 
fatherl}' hospitality of Highland lairds to their dependents. 

Dli'itlieadh daoine na cruaclian, ach tliigeadh iad suas air na 

People could eat the big stacks, but they could do with the little ones. 

Dithis a glieabh fois a nochd, mise 's an t-each ban, mu'n 
dubhairt a' bhean. 'n uair a cliual i mu bhàs a fir. 

Two that win, have peace to-night, myself and the white horse, as 
the woman said ichen she heard of iur husband's death. 

Diùn' a sheasadh an gràpa 'n a dhùnan. 

A man in whose dunghill the fork would stand. 

A man of substance. 

Eireachdas mnathan Loch-Obba, am breid odbar a tbioimdadh. 
The elegance of the Loch Awe icomen, turning the dun clout 
inside out. 

A Lorn saying. 

Facal ann, a Mbaiglistir Iain, 's am Bn;gb a' lionadh. 

Get on, Mr. John, the channel is filling. 

The Rev. John McLean was minister of Kilninian (see p. 190) in 
Mull, including Ulva and Gometra. These L'ilands are separated by a 
narrow channel called the 'Brugh,' which is passable on foot except at 
high water. Mr. M. was preaching at Gometra, and the beadle re- 
minded him in the above words, proverbial in Mull, that it was time 
to be winding up. 

Far am bi cairbliean criiimiichidh coin. 
Where carcases are dogs will gather. 

Fear eil' air son Eachainn ! 

Another for Hector ! 

Said at the battle of Inverkeithing, 1652, in reference to the chief 
of the MacLeans, Hector Roy of Duart, who was killed there, with 
hundreds of Ids clan. — Ciiairtear, 1842, pp. 96-7. Sir "Walter uses 
this sa}-ing in his description of the Clan fight in the Fair Maid of 



Fear farumach, 's e cothromach ; ceann 'us casan math aige ; 
'us gun a mhàthair beò. 

A man of energy, and well-to-do ; with good head and good legs ; 
and his mother not alive. 

The Lochaber ' beau-ideal ' of an ' eligible ' man. 

' Farumacli ' expresses the cheerful stir made by a man whose foot 
will have ' music in't as he gaes up the stair '. 

Foghnaidh feur nacli d' fhàs do 'n laogli nach d' rugadb. 

G-rass that hasn't grown will suit the unborn calf. 

Gabh an latha math as a thoiseach. 

Take the good day early. 

Gabh eolas Rudh-a'-bhàird air. 

Take it like the Bard's Point. 

Avoid it. This is a Lewis saying. 

Gàire ri do mhi-cbiatadh. 

Laughing at your shame. 

Ge b'e ghoideadh an t-ubh ghoidcadh e 'chearc, nam faodadh e. 

Who would steal the egg would steal the hen. 

Ge b' oil leis a' mhnaoi, tha 'n còta saoibhir. 

In spite of the wife, the coat is unstinted. 

A Lochaber sayiug. The goodwife, who made the cloth, wished to 
scrimp the measure, in the spirit of ' Tak yir auld cloak aboot ye. ' 

Ge bu don' an saor bu mhath a shliseag, mu'n dubhairt bean 
an t-saoir 'n uair a chaochail e. 

Though bad was the carpenter, good ivas his chip, as his wife said 
when he died. 

Ged a gheabhteadh duin air choir, cha bu choir a shàruchadh. 

A good man should not be overtaxed. 

If thy friend be honey, do not eat him all. — Arab. 

Ged is don' an Donas, thoir a chothrom fhein da. 

Give the Devil his due. 

Al. Thoir a dhlighe fhein do 'n Donas, ged is don' a choir air. 

Is ann 'an casan coin a bhios 'earal. 

A dog's caution is in his legs. 

Is breagh cuid ceaird dhith. 

The tinker's part of her is fine. 

Said of a cow with fine horns, but poor otherwise. 

Is cruaidh an cnoc air nach criomadh e. 

It's a hard hill luhere he couldn't get picking. 

Is cuagach ceartas an eucoirich. 

The justice of the imjust is twisted. 

Is e dh' itheas moran am fear nach fliaigh ach beagan. 

He ivill eat much who gets little. 

Is e 'n duine 'n t-aodach, 's cha 'n i 'cholaiun bhriagach. 

The clothes are the man, not the lying body. 


Is e farmad a ni treahhadh, 's e còmhstri a ni buam. 

Emulation ploughs mid rivalry reaps. 

Is fhada bhios duine triall, far nach miann leis a dliol. 

A man gcs slowly where he doesn't ivish. 

Is fhada Duneideann bho 'n fhear 'tha 'g èirigh 's a' Stoir. 

Edinburgh is far from the man who rises at Stoer. 

Stoer is a parish in the west of Sutherland. 

Is fhearr an cumadair na 'n cronadair. 

The maker is better than the critic. 

Is fhearr aon sine bheò na da bhoin mharbh. 

One living teat is better than two dead cows. 

A I. na da làmhaig — than two axes. The axe was the weapon with 
which the cow was killed. 

Is iomadh ' thuirt ' 'us ' thairt ' a bhios 'an tigh an tuathanaich. 

Many are the ' on dits ' in the cottage. 

Is luaithe aon chù a' ruith na dhà dhiag 'g a ruagadh. 

One dog fleeing is swifter than twelve pursuing. 

Is luaithe cù na 'chuideachd. 

A dog goes before his company. 

Al. Cuiridh cù e fhèin air thoiseach. 

Said of forward ill-maunered persons. 

Is mairg a threigeadh an tuath, 's nach buannaicheadh an tigh- 

Woe to him that would forsake the tenantry, loithout winning the 

Is math Breinein an deigh na cloinne sèimh. 

The bad boy is good ichen the gentle ones go. 

When th'S good children die, the worst child becomes more valued. 

Is math cobhair nam bioran le 'cheile. 

The union of sticks is helpful. 

This is the old Roman parable. 

Is math na fir, ach na chi iad. 

The men are good, but for lohat they see. 

This is a feminine saying, meaning that men who stick at home and 
pry too much into domestic matters, are out of place. 

Is math na h-eòin far an gintear iad. 

The birds are good in their native place. 

A very Highland sentiment, deeply felt even in St. Kilda. 

Is olc am bathar nach mol an ceannaiche. 

It is bad ware luhich the merchant praises not. 

Is olc am mèirleach a dh' itheas 's a dh' innseas. 

He's a sorry thief who eats and tells. 

Is olc an t-ùlach nach gabh 's nach toir. 

He's a bad fellow that ivon't take or give. 

Is teaim leam inneir an eich air an arbhar. 

I think the horse's dung too near the corn. 

Said to aggressive or presuming people. 


Ithidh na cait fuigheall nan caolan. 
Cats will eat the refuse of small guts. 

Leathaineach gun bhòsd ; DònuUacli gun tapadh ; Caimbeuiach 
gun mhorchuis. 

A McLean without hoast ; a McDonald without cleverness; a 
Campbell without pride. 

Three rarities. 

Luideag 'us Doideag, 'us Corrag nigh'n Iain Bhàin ; Cas a' 
mhogain riabhaich a Gleann Còmhaiu ; 'us Gormsliuil mhor 
bhàrr na Màighe. 

Baggie and Frizzle, and fair John's daughter's Finger ; brindled 
Hoggan-foot from Glencoe, and big Blue-eye from May. 

The names of a gathering of witches. See Dr. MacLeod's Ee7n. of a 
Highl. Par., p. 249. 

Ma dh' itbeas tu cridb' an eòin, bidli do cbridhe air clirith ri d' 

If you eat the bird's heart, your heart ivill ]palpitate for ever. 

This and the next are meant for children. 

Ma dh' itheas tu teanga na caora, bidh tu 'mèilich ri d' ìjheò. 

If you eat tJie sheep's tongue, you will bleat for ever. 

Ma stad iad mu Ghott, stad iad mu Ghott. 

If they stopped at Gott, they did stop there. 

A Tiree saying, applied to people who stop halfway. Gott is a 
hamlet a little way from the port of Scarinish. 

Mac an Luin a bb' aig Mac Cumhail, 
Nacb d' fbàg fuigheaì do dh' feòil dbaoine. 
The son of Lnn, Fingal's sioord. 
That left no remnant of men' s flesh. 

From the ' Ceardach, ' Gillies, p. 2-36 ; Campbell's Lcahhar na Feinne, 
p. 65. See 'Cha d' fhàg claimheadh Fhinn,' ante, p. 95. 

Ma 's tuath a ghoireas an cù cain, 's gearr gu bàs fear dhe 

If the d.ear dog hark to the north, soon shall one of his household 

Mac Cuaraig an loin, 'chuir a' cbuag air a bbròig. 

Kennedy of the meadow, ivho put his shoe out of shape. 

Mar cblach a' dol 'an aghaidh bruthaicb, feasgar righinn 
Earraich ; mar chlach a' ruith le gleann, feasgar fann Fogbair. 

Like stone sent uphill is the long Spring evening ; like stone run- 
ning down glen is soft Autumn evening. 

Millidb smugaid cuideachd. 

A spittle loill spoil a company. 

This is an extreme but not extravagant illustration of the Celtic 
sense of propriety. Our Celts require to cross the Atlantic to get rid 
of this objection to careless spitting. 


Na ith siiil, no ùth, no àra, 's cha bhi galar cich gu bràtli ort. 
Eat not eye, or wider, or liver, and thy breasts shall ail thee never. 

Eathad Mhorinis do Chill-Fhinicliein. 

Going by Morinish to Kilfinichen. 

A round-about way. This is a Mull saying. A Tiree saying is, 
' Eathad Hogh do Hoighnis ' ; a Coll saying, ' Rathad Feall do dh' 
America'. An Ardnamurchan saying is, ' Kathad nam Mealla Ruadh 
thun na Ranna,' or ' Cuartachadh Iain Ruaidh thun na Ranna' ; the 
Ranna being on the north of Ardnamurchan, and the ' Mealla Ruadh ' 
the precipitous red rocks on the south side. 

'S e do bheatha fnireach, ach 's e do bhuidheann falbh ; chi thu 
dor us do thigh e fhein bho dhorus mo thighe-sa. 

You are welcome to stay, but you had better go ; you can see your 
own door from mine. 

Sgeul 'g a innse do'n ghearran, 's an gearran a' cur bhram as. 

Telling a story to the gelding, and the gelding breaking wind. 

Sgugairneach de db' ian deireadh. Foghair, 's mairg a dli' 
fheitb ri d' bhreith 's a' Mbàrt. 

Useless bird at Harvest end, pity those ivho ivaitcd for your birth 
in March. 

Al. Gugarlach. 

Applied to clumsy workers, more in the way than helpful, 

Tàillear a' gbogan ime, 's figbeadair na fuaraig. 
Tlie tailor of the butter cog, tfie weaver of the crowdie. 
Tha e mar cbii an deigb seilg. 
He is like a dog after the chase. 
Tboir tlacbd do'n mbath, 'us matb an t-olc. 
Love the good and forgive the bad. 

Tri coilceadha na Fèinne, bàrr gbeal chrann, coinneacb, 'us lir 

The three Fenian bed-stuffs, fresh tree-tops, moss, and fresh rushes. 
See Uhuyd's Jrch. s.v. coil ceadha. 

Here follow some sayings in verse, which, for various 
reasons, were not included in the body of this collection. 
Some of them can hardly be reckoned as proverbs, but are 
worth preserving. Translations of these, and of the didactic 
verses that follow, must be dispensed with. 

A mbic a' bbodacbain lachduinn, 
A bun Locbabar nan craobh, 
Cleas a' cbait a dh'òl an t-uachdar, 
Theid a' cbluas 'tboirt dhiot mu'n mbaoil. 


A mhic, ma theid thii 'g an taghadh, 
Na tagh na dubha mora, no ua donua-mala ; 
Na tagh Cinneagag, no Cruinneagag, no Snàtlidag, 
No Leum-air-mlieall, no Cnap-air-sluigein, 
No Luinneagag- liana, no Piobaire-na-tota ; 
Ach tagh bean dhonn, mar thonn air uisge glan ; 
Ciarag bheag air dhath na Inch, na sir 's na seachain. 
This is one of the most complete versions of that already given 
at p. 330. 

An Srath-'Ion'ineach geal, 
'S an grinne beus gnn smal ; 
An Srath 's an cruaidhe clach, 
'S an sgaitich cù 'us bean ! 
This refers to the parish of Strath in Skye, the old territory of the 

Carson a bhithinn mar chroman-loin, 
A' tional loin air bhàrr gach pris Ì 
Carson nach caithinn-sa an saoghal, 
'S giir cinnt' gu'n caith an saoghal mis' ] 

Gaoth an iar air rudh' na Feiste, 

Oidhche dhorcha, ceo 'us uisge, 

Clann Dùnuill air bhordaibh briste, 

Leam cha mhisde ! 

Birlinn chaol chorrach, 

Siùil àrd bhinneach, 

Sgioba fliann fheargach, 

Gun urram aon d' a cheile. 
This expresses the bad wish of a MacLeod for the MacDonalds, when 
these two great clans were at deadly feud, and nothing could be more 
terribly graphic. There is genius in the imagination of the accumulated 
horrors. The ' Feiste ' is a wild black rocky point on the west of Sk3'e, 
near the grand cliff of Vaterstein, a place of dread for any distressed 
bark, in a dark night with west wind. The description of the galley, 
as ' slender and crank, with high peaked sails, ' and that of the crew as 
' weak, angry, none respecting his fellow,' is the beau-ideal of nautical 
risk and of anarchy. 

A version somewhat similar was given to me as a MacDonald prayer 
for the MacLeods, but this is the better one. 

Is fearr beagan na 'bhi gun ni, 
Is fearr caraid' na con-amhir, 
Is fearr a bhi sona na 'bhi glic, 
Ach coisnidh an t-aithneach an t-anam. 
This is given by Macintosh, and the word ' con-amhir ' is translated 
* enemy, ' but it is to be found nowhere else. 


Is ioma fear buidhe, 
'N a sliiiidh auu an Uibhist, 
Nach itheadh na h-uibhean 's a' Cliarghus j 
A rachadh do 'n aonach, 
'S a ghoideadh na caoraich, 
Ged chrochte' le taod no le cainb e. 
This is a good specimen of Gaelic satire. 

Ma bhios mi beò, beiridh mi mac ; 

Gheabh. mi fear ged nach coi-dheas ; 

Bho'n is i mo niliàthair nach beir mac, 

Is e mo bhràthair mo roghainn. 
This is said to have been the answer of a matron, whose husband, 
son, and only brother had been captured, and who got her choice, 
which of the three to have released. It is pleasant to know, on the 
authority of Macintosh's note, that the whole three were restored to the 
spirited matron. 

Mar an iadh-sblat ri balla, 
No mac-talla ri creig, 
Leanaidh amhluadh gu daingeann 
Ri fear-tagraidh nam breug. 
Good sentiment, but bad rhyme. 

Mèirle 'dheanamh aix a' mhèirleach, 
Gu'm b'e sin a' mhèirle bhorb ; 
Cha 'n 'ell taobh a theid a' meirleach, 
Nach 'eil meirleach air a lor? . 

Mèirle salainn 's mèirle frois, 

Mèirl' o nach fhaigh anani clos ; 

Gus an teid an t-iasg air tir, 

Cha 'n fhaigh meirleach an lin clos. 
This illustrates the great value attached to salt and lint-seed, 
especially among a fishing population, at a time when the duty on salt 
was excessive, and lint was cultivated in the Hebrides. Another 
version is — 

Meirleach salaina 'us meirleach lin, 

Da mheirleach nach fhaigh fois ; 

Ge b'e thig no nach tig a nios, 

Cha tig meirleach a' lin ghlais . 

Mi 'm shuidhe air cnocan nan deur, 
Gun chraicionn air meur no air bonn ; 
A Righ, 's a Pheadair, 's a Phòil, 
Is fada an Roimh bho Loch-Long ! 
This deep-felt utterance is ascribed to Muireadhach Albanach, (circa 
1180-1220), the first distinguished representative of a great Clan, Clann 


Mhuirich, commonly called Macpherson, as he sat down at the head of 
Loch Long in Argyleshire, on his return from a pilgrimage to Rome, 
having walked the whole way, save the ferries. 

Muileann Bhiin-Màigh — ' Theid agam air, theid agam air ' ; 

Muileann Choire-Chviinnlidh— ' Leig h-i;gam e, leig h-ugam e. 

This is a pleasant imitation of the sound of a mill-happer. The two 
mills mentioned are or were in Lochaber, the one at Moy, the other at 

Na biodh ro-ghaol, 's na bitheadh fuath, 

Agad-s' air sluagh Innis-threud ; 
Na smaointich air na chaidh 'thoirt bhuat, 
'S a' chuid nach deachaidh bhuat gun teid. 
This is from one of Dr M'Leod's papers in the Cuairtear, Jan., 
1842, p. 311. These words were said to have been heard by a man 
sitting at midnight on his wife's grave. 

Nic Gleosgair mhor, 's a triùir nighean, 

'S a beairt-fhighe, 's a fiicadair. 
This refers to three remarkable stacks of rock, called MacLeod's 
Maidens, off the coast of Idrigill, on the west of Skye, compared by 
Sir Walter Scott to the Norse ' Choosers of the slain,' or ' Riders of the 
Storm '. One of the three smaller rocks, and the ' fùcadair ' (fuller) 
have disappeared ; and the ' beairt-fhidhe ' (weaving-loom) is now 
scarcely visible. 

Seachd bliadhna roimh 'n bhràth, 
Thig muir air Eirinn re aon tràth, 
'S thar He ghuirm ghlais, 
Ach snàmhaidh I Choluim Chleirich. 
An elegant but periphrastic translation of this by Dr. John Smith is 
given in his Life of St. Columba. 

Seasaidh an fhirinn, 
Gu direach, daingeann, reidh, 
Cha 'n ann air a' ghainneamh, 
Ach air creig mar steigh. 
This seems to be a paraphrase of Matth. vii. 24-27. 

'S e 'm buileachadh 'ni 'n cruinneachadh, 
'S e 'n cruinneachadh 'ni sguaban, 
Na sguaban 'ni na mulanan, 
'S na mulanan na cruachan. 

Seinn-fein riamh ni mholamar, 
Tha'm balbh mar na linnte làna, 
An sruthan a's eudoimhne 
Is e labhras gu dàna. 
This is given in the first ed. of Macintosh, but not in the second. 


Siadair sin 'us Siadair, 
Cha do chinnich duine riamh ann, 
'S ged is lionmhor do chnocan, 
Leaghaidh do chuid mar am fiar ann. 
This saying, in reference to a farm near Uig in Skye, is attributed 
to Coinneach Odhar, tlie Brahan Seer. 

'S mor an dearmad mearachd focail, 
'S ann a' tha 'n t-olc anns a' mhi-rùn ; 
'S fearr fear foghainteach feargach 
Na fear min cealgach 'us e ciuin. 

Tha 'n uaisle 'n a h-eire throm, 

Air an fhonn nach faighear ni, 

'S mo chreach ! ma gheabhar an crodli 's a' bhuaile, 

Cha 'n ihaighear an uaisle leis a' mhnaoi. 
AL Far am faighear an crodh cha 'n fliaighear am modh. 
This is part cf the son's reply to the father's advice on marriage (p. 
330) in one of the versions. 

Teirgidh gach ni ri 'chaitheamh, 
'S a bhi 'g a chaitheamh gu minig ; 
'S an ni sin nach caithear, 
Ged nach caithear gu 'n teirig ; 

Bho 'n a theirgeas gach ni gun chaitheamh, 
Grathunn mu 'n tig am bràth ; 
Is coir gach ni a chaitheamh, 
Mu 'n caith e fhein as a thàmh. 

Trì mìosan cù, 
Cdig caogad cat ; 
Is ionann bean 'us bo, 
'S bliadhna mhdr do'n lair. 
This refers to the time of going with young. The usual meaning 
of the word ' Caogad ' is fifty, but here it is used to signify nine days. 

Triughas air na luirgne loma, 
Bonnaid air na maolanaich, 
Feileadh air na daoine tapaidh, 
Casag air na slaodairean. 

TÙS mi-rath nam bheachd, 
Ge b'e aca neach 'g a foirm. 
An coileach a bhi 'n a thàmh, 
Us a' chearc a bhi dha 'gairm. 



The following verses are from John Gillies's Collection of 
Gaelic Poetry, pulilished at Perth in 1786, now a rare book. In 
the Cuairtear of June, 1842, five verses are given, entitled 'Comh- 
hairlean an t-sean Uuine,' substantially the same as some of these, 
but with variations. Among the MSS. of a Kintail poet, Duncan 
MacRa, dated 1688, in the possession of Mr. Donald Mackinnon, 
Edinburgh, in a piece called ' Pairt de Chomhairle Mhic Eachain 
'Ic Fhearachair do Mhac an Toisich a Dhalta,' two verses occur 
which correspond nearly verbatim with two verses of Gillies's 
edition. Other two are in Macintosh's collection. In the collec- 
tion of Irish Proverbs appended to Canon Bourke's Grammar are 
stiU other two verses, headed ' Comhairle an t-Seanduine,' some- 
what different, but apparently part of the same poem. An addi- 
tional verse, appended to the ironical advice, was got by Mr. A. 
A. Carmichael, in Uist. It is e^ddently a part of the same poem. 
All these fragmentary relics illustrate how rhymed compositions 
are preserved, in whole or in part, from generation to generation. 
A few emendations of Gillies's text are given, the more important 
of which are noted. His grammar and spelling are not of the 
best. The wisdom, good feeling, humour, and pithiness of these 
verses are remarkable. 

Comhairle 'thug ormsa Brian ; 
Gun mo chiall a bhi gu tais, 
Gun dol 'an cogadh no 'n sgleò, 
Mux saoilinn teachd beò as. 

Thug e orm comhairl' eile, 

'S ar leamsa nach i bu tàire, 

Ge bu leam earras an domhain, 

Gun a chux 'an coimheart ri m' nàire. 

Cuimhnich sior-thathaich an teampuill, 
'S na cuir do theann-gheall 's an eucoir ; 
'S na tugadh ort or no beatha 
Mionnan eithich a thoirt air feudaU.' 

Ma chluinn thu faoin-sgeul air fann, 
Na cuir do leth-làmh 'n a luib ; 
Na bi 'nad urrainn anns a' bhreig, 
Leig an sgeul ud seachad uait. 

Bi ciatach macant' air d'eòlas, 
'S na tog trùgbhail air d'aineol ; 
Na abair gu'n diùlt thu 'choir, 
Na ob 'us na iarr onoir.- 


Bior 'nad dhearn fhein na fàisg ; 
D' easbhuidh ri d' nàmhaid na rùisg ; 
Roinn * sgeine ri d' fheòil na eisd ; 
Beist nimhe ri d' blieò * na diiisg. 

Na bi gu sracanta borb ; 
Na taghail gun lorg an sruth ; 
'S na tigeadh a mach as do bheul 
Aon ni 'thoilleas duit fein guth.* 

Na dean tàir air buirbe fir ; 

Na Ò1 balgum garbh a goil ; ^ 

N' tra 'chi thu 'n ealtuinn ghlan gheur, 

Saltair gu sèimh seacb a saidhJ 

Na bi ro mhor 'us na bi beag ; 
Air fàl-ni ^ na caith do chuid ; 
Air gliràdh h-òinich na tog trcd, 
'S na h-ob i ma 's h-eiginn duit. 

Na bi caithriseach air sràbh ; 
Na dean cnàid air duine bochd ; 
Na mol 's na dimoil an daoi, 
Na gu 'm faighear saoi gun lochd. 

A laoigh, 's leor d' òige, 
Na còmhdaich cùis chònnspaid ; 
Na rùisg le rabhladh do bhladh ; ^ 
'S na tog aobhar gun ùghdair. 

1 'eadair in Gillies. ^ j^i_ urram. * faobhar in G. text in Macintosh. 
* do d' dlieoin in G. text in M. ^ ivMch mil earn you reproach. 
^ Al. Na cuir fearg air fuirbidh fir, 
'S na toir balgum à dian-ghoil. 
Al. Na buaU dorn, &c. 
^ Tread softly by its edge. ^ a trifle. The ' Cuairtear ' version of 
the second and third lines of this verse is, 

'S 'an co-oil na cosd do chuid ; 
A tigh milidh na tog greigh. 
® Don't expose your character by coarse jesting. 


These verses follow those above in Gillies's Collection ; the 
first three ironical, the rest serious. 

An tùs, 'g a fheuchainn, thubliairt e. 

'N uair a theid thu 'thigh an oil, 
Tionndaidh a' choir bun os cionn ; 
Suidh gu somalt' air cuid chàich ; 
Dimoil 'us na pàidh an leann. 


Smachdaicli d' atliair 'n a am, 
Tuig nach fhearr e na tliii fein ', 
Aon fhacal air am bi bias 
Na leig a mach as a' bheul. 

Bi neo-sliioblialta ri mnaoi, 
'S bi gu garbli ri duine bochd ; 
Bi gu dichuimhneach air d' arm, 
'S bi gu tlàth ri dol 'an troid. 

The following verse, got in Uist by Mr. Carmichael, plainly 
belongs to this composition, and may take the place of an omitted 
verse, coming second in Gillies's version, which is coarse, without 
any special merit. 

'N uair a theid a' chùis mu'n cuairt, 
Seal mu'n togar duals a bhùird, 
Fear dha 'n fhearr is leir a choir, 
Buail do dhòrn air anns an t-sùil. 

Ail Cormaig ceudna da rireadh. 

Seachain caonnag dhiomhanach,i 
'Us ni e ciall a ghleidheadh dhuit. 

Seachain a' mhuinntir mhi-runach, 
D' am bidh ^ an teanga bhaoth-radhach, 
Leis an annsa ^ breug na fireantachd, 
Mu 'n toill e nàire saoghail * duit. 

Na bi struidheil friotalach,^ 
'An tigh an oil ma thuiteas tu ; 
Gleidh teanga shàmhach ^ shicir ann, 
Nach toill nàir 'an cmdeachd dhuit. 

Dean taghal beag nan companach, 

O 's Ò1 'tha costail '' millteach dhoibh ; 

Bi ceart air cùl gach aon duine, 

'S cha 'n fhaod iad aon lochd innseadh ort. 

Na innis-sa do d' chompanach^ 
'An uaigneas d' uile inntinn, 
Air eagal 's ma thig àmhghar air, 
'Am feirg gu 'n dean e inns' ort.* 

Thoir gaol do d' mhnaoi a rithistich ; ^ 
Ma 's àill leat gràdh ^" mu chomhair sin, 
'S aon fhuil 'us fheùil 'n ur dithis sibh, 
An fliad 's is beò air domhain sibh. 

Na bi bruidhneach 'an tigh mor, 
'S na bi sòradh ^^ aix sean-fhear. 


An onoir nacli fhaigli thu do ghnàth 
Na bi 'g a h-iarraidh aon tràth ; 
An fliàilt bhruidliueacli gun 'blii buan, 
Mar rionnach 'an cuan a' snàmh. 

Beannachd ort 's na cum an fhearg, 
■"S na dean cealg air duine bochd, 
Na bi dian ge d' robb ort dith, 
Oir 's e Dia a bheir ni dhuit. 

Tlioir do chomliairle mu seach, 
Air gach neach a bliios 'n a feum ; 
An rud a dhimolas tu 'cbach 
A sliamhuil gu bràtli na dean fein. 

Combaiile de chomliairlean Phòil, 
Na teirig 'an spàirn le d' dheòin ; 
Na dean siigradh riutha sud, 
O 's trie friogh air an fhior bhrùid. 

The words in Gillies altered above are here given : — 
^ dhiomhidis. - biodh. ^ ionusa. * saoghalt. ^ frisealair. This 
word is unknown. Gillies in a note gives ' doichiollach ' as a gloss. 
' Friotalach ' means fretful. ® sheamhaidh. '' costach. ^ See Sirach, 
viii. 19. ^ Proi-m. for ris. i" gras. " saoith'reach ; in Macintosh, 
'saraichte': 'sòradh,' 'grudging,' the Cuairtear version, is better in 
sound and sense. 


This collection forms part of a tract of 36 pp., being the 2nd 
edition, 'Edinburgh, Menzies, Lawnmarket, 1834'. It contains 
1. a Dialogue in verse, ' Deasbaireachd eadar am Papa agus an 
t- Athleasacha,' a Discussion between tlie Pope and the Reforma- 
tion ; 2. ' Sean Fhocail agus Comhadan,' Proverbs and Similitudes ; 

3. ' Deoch an Doruis,' The Door-Drink, already given on p. 165 ; 

4. David Mackellar's Hymn to the Creator; 5. an anonymous 
Hjnnn ; 6. the Christian on the Brink of Jordan, a Hymn by 
the Rev. John Macdonald of Urquhart, afterwards Dr. Macdonald 
of Ferintosh. The first three are by Lothian, a brief memoir of 
whom forms the Preface, signed by John McLachlan, Elder in 
Fincastle. It states that Lothian, 'Donnacha Loudinn,' was a 
native of Glen Lyon ; served for a time as a turner under Dugald 
Buchanan at Kinloch Rannoch ; came thence to Struan ; and 
finally to Fincastle, where he died about the age of 80. The first 
edition of these verses was published at Edinburgh in 1797 ; the 
third at Edinburgh in 1844. McLachlan says he had great diffi- 
culty in finding a copy. In Reid's Bibliotheca Geltica, p. 76, this 
entry occurs — " Comh Chruinneachhidh Orainnigh Gaedhaelach 


agus Bearla le Donacha Loudin. Seria mixta jocis, Ovid. Aber- 
rain Clo-bhuailt ann le Sheumais Chalmers Airson "Wm. Sharp, 
ann 'n Inverness. 1780. 12°. 6d." It is difficult to believe that 
there were two Duncan Loudins ; and yet the above title is very 
unlike the character of this Duncan's muse ; and the publication 
it refers to was evidently unknown to MacLachlan or his pub- 
lisher. He was intimately acquainted with Duncan, of whom he 
says, ' bha eolas cridhe agam air ' ; characterising him as a sober 
godly man, a good speaker, deeply earnest in exhorting others, 
who spent his life in great esteem, shunning every appearance of 
evil. The influence of Buchanan is apparent in these verses, the 
composition of which was probably suggested by his ' Bruadar '. 
They are very good, and deserve to be known and kept in mind 
wherever Gaelic is spoken. 

Le Donncha Loudinn. 

'N uair a chailleas neach a mhaoin, 

'S gnothach faoin 'bhi 'g iarraidh meas ; 

Ge do labhair e le ceill, 

'S beag a gheibh e 'dh'eisdeas ris. 

'S beag sgoinn de mhòintich am monadh ; 

'S beag sgoinn de choille am fàsach ; 
'S lugha meas tha 'dhuine falamh, 

'N uair 'tha 'earras an deigh f hàgail. 

'S ioma caraid 'th' aig fear saibhir, 

Tha daoine bochda gun phxis ; 
'S gann a dh'aidicheas an càirdean 

Gu 'm buin iad dhaibh, 'us lad 'bhi 'n dith. 

'S fearr a bhi bochd na 'bhi breugach, 
'S fearr fheuchainn na 'bhi 's an dùil ; 

'S fearr am fear a chostas beagan 
Na 'm fear a theicheas ann an cuU. 

Tha 'n fhirinn gu cliùteach sona, 

Cha chron air duine 'bhi fial ; 
S fearr beagan anus an onoir 

Na 'n donas 'us ceithir chiad. 

Is ainmig a dh' eir'eas fortan 
Le fear crosta 'bhios gun cheill ; 

'S fearr do dhuine fuireach sàmhach, 
Na droch dhàn a chur an ceilJ. 


Eiridli tònn air iiisge balbli ; 

Gheibhear cearb air dtiine glic ; 
Eiridh gnothach le fear mall ; 

Bristidh am fear 'tlia call gu trie. 

Tlia 'ghaineamli flieiii anns gach sruthan ; 

Cba 'n 'eil tuil air nach tig tràghadh ; 
'S don' an càirdeas gun a chumail, 

'S cha 'n fhaighear duine gun fhàiling. 

Is coltacb fear 'tha ris an flioill, 

'S nacli 'eil sgoinn aige de 'n choir, 
Ris an duin' a tliaisg an luaidhe, 

Agus a thilg uaitiie an t-òr. 

'S dona tliig maighdean gun 'bhi beusacli ; 

Cha dean fear gun gheire dan ; 
Cha dean fear gun fhoghlum leughadh, 

'S cha tig leigh gu duine slàn. 

'S math 'bhi siothchail anns gach ball ; 

Caillidh duine dall an t-iùl ; 
Is sona neach a bhios gxva. bheud, 

Ach caillidh luchd nam breug an cliù. 

Smuainich mil 'n dean thu labhairt, 
Ma 's àiU leat do ghnothach 'bhi reidh ; 

'S fearr dhut sealltuinn beagan romhad, 
Na sealltuinn fad' air do dheigh. 

Is trom snith air tigh gun tubhadh ; 

'S trom tubaist air na dràichdean ; 
'S duilich do mhnaoi beanas-tighe 

Dheanamh air na fraighean fàsa. 

Cha trom leis an loch an lach, 

Cha trom leis an each an t-srian, 
Cha trom leis a' chaor' a h-olainn, 

'S cha truimid a' choluinn a ciall. 

Cha trom leis an fhiadh a chabar, 
Cha trom leis a' choileach a chirein ; 

Ni 'mheasas aon neach mar leth-trom, 
Chi neach eile mar thoilinntinn. 

Tha 'n neach 'tha 'gleidheadh seanchais dhiomhain, 
'S a leigeas diadhaidheachd fo 'bhonn, 

Mar a bha 'n te a thog a chàth, 

'S a dh' fhàg an cruineachd air an torn. 


Caillear mart an drocli mliuthaicli 

Seachd bliadhna roimh a mitliicli : 
Tha sud a' feuchainn 's a' dearbliadh 

Gu 'n tig an t-earchall le mi-fheairt. 

Cha 'n fhuirich muir ri uallacli, 

'S clia dean bean liiatli maorach ; 
Clia dean bean gun nàire cugann,^ 

'S clia dean bean gun fhuras aodach. 

Far am bi bo bidh bean, 

'S far am bi bean bidh buaireadh ; 
Far am bi fearg bidh bruidheann, 

'Us as a' bhruidhinn thig tuasaid. 

Am fear a bhrathas 's e 'mharbhas ; 

Cha deanar dearl)hadh gun deuchainn ; 
'S gann a dh' aithn'eas tu do charaid, 

Gus an tachair dhut 'bhi 'd' eigin. 

Cha 'n 'eil saoi gun choimeas, 

Cha 'n 'eil coille gun chrionaich ; 
'S fearr beagan a mhathadh 

Na sean fhalachd a dhioladh. 

'S math caraid anns a' chùirt, 

Ma thig neach gu trioblaid ; 
Ach 's fearr aon ian ^ 's an làimh, 

Na dhà dhiag air iteig. 

Leig d' eallach air làr mu 'n lag thu, 

]\ia dh' aithn'eas tu d' eallach tròm ; 
Is mor gur fearr an cù a ruitheas 

Na 'n CÙ a shuidheas air tom. 

Bean thlachdmhor, gun ghniomh, gun ghleidheadh, 

Ge do thaitinn i ri d' shùil, — 
Ciod am feum a ta 'an lann, 

Mur bi làmh air a cM Ì 

Pigheid chaileig air bheag ceill, 

Ged 'robh feudail aic 'us stor, 
Cha 'n fliaod a fear a bhi sona, 

Ma bhios i gnogach anns an t-sròin. 

Bean gun nàire gun ghliocas, 

Bean mhisgeach, gun bheusaibh, 
B' fhearr dhut cù a chur mu d' amhuich 

Na do cheangal ri te dhiubh. 


Bean ardanacli labhar, 

Bean gliabhannacli ^ clieilidlieacli, 
Is tus trioblaid 'ns aimbeairt 

Dol gu. d' cheangal ri te dhiubh. 

Am fear a gheallas 's e 'dh' iocas, 
'S e 'm fear a dh' iarras a phàidheas ; 

Clia choir do neach a bhi nllamh 
Gu dol 'an cimnart no 'n gàbhadh. 

Am fear nach dean àr ri latha fnar, 

Cha dean e buain ri latha teth ; 
Am fear nach dean obair no gniomh 

Cha'n fhaigh e biadh feadh nam preas. 

'S fearr sith a preas na stri ri glais ; 

Bi faicilleach mu d' ghiùlan, 
'S furas seasamh 'an gnothach ceart, 

Ged 'theid gach cùis gu dùbhlan. 

Is tus a' ghliocais eagal De ; 

Cha dean eucoir do chur suas ; 
Co dhiubh is math no 's olc 'ad chre, 

'S ann do reir a gheibh thu duais. 

'S fearr an ceartas glan na 'n t-òr ; 

Is beag air duine coir an fhoill ; 
An neach a mheallas tu o d' chùl, 

Chuir e 'dhùil 'an cuid an doill. 

Is ciatach gnothach follaiseach, 

Ach 's dona comunn cealgach ; 
An rud a gheibhear aig ceann an Deamhain, 

Caillear e aig 'earball. 

Is olc an toiseach cogaidh geilt ; 

Cha 'n ionann sgeul do 'n chreich 's do 'n tòir ; 
Is searbh gloir an fhir a theich, 

'S am fear a dh' fhuirich ni e bòsd. 

Is fearr 'bhi tais na 'bhi ro bhras, 

O 'n 's e a's lugha cùram ; 
Is fearr suidh' 'an tigh a' bhròin, 

Na 'n tigh a cheòil 's an t-siigraidh. 

Cha toir neach air eigin beairteas ; 

'S duilich droch chleachd a chuir fas ; 
Bheir gach Dòmhnuch leis an t-seachduin, 

'S bheir am peacadh leis am bàs. 


Na bi ealamli air trodadh, 

'S na bi toi leach air tuasaid ; 
Ach ma 's toigh leat do leanabli, 

Na bi leisg air a bhualadh. 

Bi 'n còmlimiidh air taobh na siochaint,* 
'S na bi di-chaisg ^ air bheag aobhar ; 

'S fearr dlu;t amadan a bhreugadh, 

Na dol g' a ilieuchainn ann an caonnaig. 

Na bi talach air do cliuibhrinn, 
Ge do robli i baileach ® sòrahail/ 

'S fliearr greini tioram le siochaint, 
Na tigli Ian iobairt le còmhstri. 

Dol a stri ri rud gun choslas, 

Cha 'n 'eil ann ach gnothach faoin ; 

Cha tig feur tre na clochan, 

'S cha tig felt tre chlaigionn aosd'. 

Tha e cruaidh air duine lag 

Dol ri bruthach cas 'n a steud ; 
'S tha e tearc am measg an t-sluaigh 

An neach sin a gheibh buaidh air fliein. 

Na bi 'cuir na ciont' air each, 

]\Ia tha 'n fhàiling agad fhein ; 
Is duilich neach a rib' 'an slaod,^ 

'Us ceann an taoid aige fhein. 

Neach 'tha gu math is coir dha fuireach, 
Gun 'bhi 'stri ri rud nach iomchuidh ; 

Is trie 'bha call an deigh an turuis, 
Ach 's buidhe le amadan imrich. 

Is fearr cù beò na leomhan marbh ; 

'S fhearr min gharbh na 'bhi gun bhleth ; 
An rud a chi thu 'thogas fearg, 

Na dean dearmad air a chleth. 

Thoir aire cia mar 'ghluaiseas tu ; 

Cha toir thu buaidh le farmad ; 
Is trie le gnothach niirunach 

Gu 'n criochnaich e neo-shealbhar. 

Bi eùlaeh mu dhuine an tùs, 

Mu 'n innis thu do run g' a cheann ; 

Na euir do chlàr air a thaobh 

Do neach nach saoil thu 'chuireadh ^* ann. 


Na gabh farmad ri neacli idir, 
Ged 'shaoil thu a staid 'bhi mor ; 

A' bheann a 's àirde 'tha 's an tir 
'S an oirre 's trice 'chi thu 'n ceo. 

'S math an gille greasaidh 'n t-eagal ; 

Tha rud air theagamh duilich 'innseadh ; 
'S fhearr dhut teicheadh le onoir, 

Na dol 'thoirt oidhirp neo-chinnteach. 

'N iiair a theid thu do 'n tigh-leanna, 
Na iarr a bhi 'g araailt na pàirti ; ^" 

'S mithich druideadh choir an doruis, 
'N uair a theannas an sporan ri àicheadh. 

Is diomhain dut a bhi 'toirt teagaisg 

Do neach a chuir ciil ri eòlas ; 
Mar 'thionnda's a' chonihl' air a bannaibh, 

Pillidh an t-amadan ri 'ghòraich. 

Ge do robh thu dripeil, 

'S coir dhut a bhi air d' fliaicill ] 
'S iad na toimhsean trice 

'Ni na toimhsean cearta. 

Tha ar n-ùine 'ruith gun stad, 

Ceart co luath 's 'thig clach le gleann ; 

Ni 1 stad 'n uair ruigear " hag, 
'S bidh a h-astar aig a cheann. 

Ceart mar a thig gaillionn na sian, 
'N uair nach miann leat a bhi ann, 

Is amhluidh sin a thig an t-aog, 
Ge do shaoil thu nach b'e 'n t-àni. 

Ceart mar a sgaoileas an ceo, 

'N uair a thig teas air o 'n ghrein, 

Is amhluidh sin a shiubhlas glòir, 
'Us ioma dòchas air bheag feum. 

Cha b' e comunn an da ghamhna 
A bha shannt orm 'dheanamh riut, 

Ach rud 'bhiodh agad 'ghabhail uat, 
'S an rud 'bhiodh uat a thoirt dhut. 

Nach b' e sud an comunn saor ? 

'S cha b' e comunn nam maor mu 'n chlài 
B'e 'n comunn-sa 'bhi 'toirt a null, 

'S cha chomunn ach a null 's a nail. 


Ma 's fìor gach sean fliocal, 

A labhradh le luchd geire, 
Bheir fòid breithe agus bàis 

Duine air athadh 's air eigin. 

^ ' cugann, ' milk set for cream. ^ ' aon ' and ' dhiag ' are sup})lied 
here for better version and metre. ^ ' gabhannach, ' flattering. 
^ 'siothchaint,' subst. for ' siothchaidh '. ^ 'di-chaisg,' uncontrol- 
lable ; not a dictionary word. ^ 'baileach' more commonly 'buileach'. 
"^ ' sòmhail, ' small, opposite of ' domhail, ' bulky ; more generally 
'sùmhail,' and 'dùmhaU'. ^ ' rib' 'an slaod,' to entangle in a coil. 
^ Subst. for ' chuir rud ami '. i° Don't interrupt the i)arty. ^^ 'ruigear,' 
subst. for ' thig i 'n, ' as preferable. 




' Aireamh na h-Aoine,' &c., p. 7. 

Counting cattle on Friday was considered peculiarlj' unlucky. 
Ruith na h-Aoine, The Friday fate, was sure to follow. See to 
the same effect, ' Ma mharbhas tu beathach Dihaoine,' p. 305. 

Eòlas na h-Aoine, the Friday spell, was a name ajiplied to the 
e\dl eye. If one possessing this unfortunate eòlas saw another 
bathing, the bather was sure to get drowned. 

Friday has long been held an unlucky day in various Chris- 
tian countries. This is generally supposed to be founded on the 
fact that it was the day of our Lord's Crucifixion. Accordingly, 
it is a fast day in the Church of Rome, whence the Gaelic 
name ' Di-h-Aoine,' literally 'Fast-Day'. The belief in the 
unluckiness of Friday is not confined, however, to Christian 
countries. It prevails also among the Brahmins, who hold that 
no business of any importance should be commenced on Fridav. 
Asiat. Res., Vol. VI., p. 172 ; Chambers's Book of Days, Vol. I., p. 42. 

Jhe Scottish proverb ' Friday flit, short time sit,' and the 
English 'Friday's hair and Sunday's horn, goes to the dool on 
Monday morn,' illustrate this superstition. 


' Am port a's fliearr,' &c., p. 25. 

Roderick Morrison, the most famed of Highland harpers, and 
a poet of no mean powers, was son of John Morrison of Bragar 
(see Note ante, p. 47), and born according to i\IacKenzie (Beauties 
of Gaelic Poetry, jx 85) in 1646. His father, who was a man of 
some mark, and of varied ability, had five sons, of whom three 
became clergymen. Rory was sent as a boy with two of his 
brothers to he educated at Inverness, and there he lost his eye- 
sight from small-pox. Instead of theology music became thence- 
forth his study, and his father is said to have declared that the 
education of Rory as a musician him more trouble and 
expense than that of the three ministers. On his return from a 


visit to Ireland, Eory met in Edinburgh the Chief of the 
MacLeods, Iain Breac, described by MacKenzie as " that sterling 
model of a Highland Chieftain," and said to have been one of the 
last that had in his retinue ' a Bard, a Harper, a Piper, and a 
Fool — all of them excellently and well provided for'. This 
spirited Chief engaged Rory in the double capacity of Bard and 
Harper, in both which offices he earned a reputation that still 
lives. His Lament for his beloved patron, Creach na Ciadain, and 
his Oran Mor Mhic Leòid, full of praise of the dead, combined 
with plain but dignified strictures addressed to the young Chief, 
are very creditable, and still worthy of remembrance in that 
ancient and hospitable house. Few families anywhere can boast of 
having had two such bards in their service as Mary MacLeod and 
Roderick Morrison ; and no sentiment more appropriate could be 
addressed to a MacLeod Chief than this of Roderick : — 

Bi gu fiiighantach smachdail, 

Rianail, reachdmhor, 'n Triath Leòdach, 

Na faic frid 'an sùil bridean, 

Cha chuis dion do Mhac Leòid e ! 

Cha chuis dion do Mhac Leoid 

A bhi dòlum 's rud aige, 
Laan an dùthchas bu choir dhut, 

'S biodh mòr-chuis 'n ad aigne ! 

After the death of Iain Breac, change of days came to Dun- 
vegan and to Rory : in his own pathetic words, 

Chaidh a' chuidhle mu'n cuairt, 

Gu 'n do thionndaidh gu fuachd am blàths. 

The Chief had given him the farm of Totamòr in Glenelg rent 
free, from which he appears to have been ejected by the new laird, 
Roderick, of whom he says : — 

Dheadh mhic athar mo ghràidh, 

Bu tu m' aighear, 'us m' àdh, 'us m' olc. 

After this he returned to Lewis, where he died at a good old age, 
and was buried in the old churchyard of Uy, near Stornoway. 

The above facts are taken chiefly from MacKenzie's sketch, in 
which a few mistakes occur. The poet's father is said to have 
been an Episcopal clergyman ; he was a farmer. At the time of 
Rory's visit to Edinburgh it is said that the Scotch nobility and 
gentry were at the Court of King James in Holyrood House. 
James VII. never was in Scotland after he became king. Macin- 
tosh says Rory was harper to MacLeod in the reign of Queen 
Anne, which is probable enough. 

Sir Walter Scott thus alludes to Roderick in JVaverley (ch. 
x\'ii.), "Two paces back stood Cathleen holding a small Scottish 
harp, the use of which had been taught to Flora by Rory Dall, 
one of the last harpers of the Western Highlands ". 


]\Iacintosli in a note on tlie above proverb (2nd ElT., p. 199), 
gives the following interei^ting reminiscence : — 

" Harps were in use in the Highlands and Isles of Scotland 
time immemorial, till the beginning of last century, and even 
later ; for Mr. Eobertson of Lude, General Robertson's great- 
grandfather, the gentleman whom the elegant poet Struan im- 
mortalises in his poems, was a famous performer upon that 
instrument, and I have heard my father relate the following 
anecdote of him : — 

" One night my father said to Lude that he would be happy to 
hear him play upon the harp, which at that time began to give 
place to the violin. After supper Lude and he retired to another 
room, in which there were a couple of harps, one of which 
belonged to Queen Mary. 'James,' says Lude, 'here are two 
harps, the largest one is the loudest, but the small one is the 
sweetest ; which do you wish to hear played ' Ì James ansv%-ered, 
'the small one,' which Lude took up, and played upon it till 

" Upon a visit to my native country of Athole, about five years 
ago, I had the curiosity to enquire of General Robertson if the 
harps were still in the family. The General told me they were, 
and brought them upon the table, at the sight of which I was 
quite overjoyed in viewing the musical instruments of our 
ancestors, as well as those of the renowned heroes of Ossian. 

" After my return to Edinburgh, I immediately gave notice of 
the harps to the Highland Society of Scotland, who wrote to 
General Robertson requesting a sight of the harps, which he was 
so obliging as to grant. 

" Mr. Gunn, teacher of music in Edinburgh, has since published 
an Essay upon the Harp, with representations taken from these 
very harps. I have the vanity to think the bringing these harps 
before the eyes of the public to be one of the most pleasant 
actions of my life, as in all probability they must either have 
been lost or destroyed by time, without ever having been known 
to the world ; and those fastidious gentlemen who take pleasure 
in opposing everything respecting the antiquity of the Cale- 
donians, would have persisted in denying the use of the harp 
among these people, as they do many other things." 

The two harps above mentioned are now in the Museum of the 
Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, to which they have been 
kindly lent by the owner, Mr. Steuart of Dalguise. 

Campbell, Macintosh's editor, adds to the above, that when 
\'isiting the Western Highlands and Islands in 1815 collecting 
melodies for his 'Albyn's Anthology,' he visited the grave of 
Eory Ball's pupil, the last of our Hebridean harpers, Murdoch 
MacDonald ; and that Mrs. MacKenzie of Dervaig in ]\Iull 
remembered his playing on his harp in her father's house. 
This Mrs. MacKenzie was the Miss MacLean specially mentioned 
by Boswell in his ' Tour through the Hebrides '. She was the 


daughter of a Dr. MacLean who lived near Tohermory at that 
time, 1773. Dr. Johnson said of her, 'She is the most accom- 
plished lady that I have found in the Highlands. She knows 
French, Music and Drawing, sews neatly, makes shell-work, and 
can milk coavs; in short, she can do everything. She talks 
sensibly, and is the first person I have found that can translate 
Erse poetry literally.' She accompanied her singing on a spinnet, 
which Boswell said was well-toned, thoiigh made in 1667. — 
Carruthers' ed., p. 249. 


' Cha ghluais bròg,' &c., p. 102. 

' Edghan a' chinn bhig,' Ewen of the little head, was the 
eldest son of one of the first lairds of Loch Buy in Mull, and 
married a daughter of MacDougall of Lorn, a very ill-tempered 
and niggardly woman, who got the nickname of Gortag. He 
quarrelled violently with his father, and is said to have struck 
him. The old man complained to his relation MacLean of 
Duart, who was glad of a pretext for invading Loch Buy, and 
came down with an armed force against Ewen. On the evening 
before the battle, Ewen consulted a witch, of whom he asked 
whether he was to win the fight. She said he would win, if on 
the morrow his wife would give him butter without asking for it, 
' im gun iarraidh '. Next morning Ewen sat and waited long for 
the butter, rubbing his hands and stamping with his feet. At 
last his wife said, 'Cha 'n fhàg breabadair na seana bhròig 
craicionn air dearnaibh,' The kicker of the old shoe won't leave skin 
on palm; on which Ewen responded as above. Neither shoe nor 
speech xvill move the bad housewife. He went away in a rage, 
leaving his food untasted, turned his dogs into the milk-house, 
and hastened to the fight, from which he never returned alive. 
It took place in Glen Cainnir near Loch Buy, where a stroke 
from a broadsword swejjt off Ewen's little head. The horse 
then rushed from the fight with his rider on his back, and was 
so seen again for days, careering wildly through these glens, up 
and down passes and precipices fit only for goats or birds. For 
many generations thereafter this headless rider, still in full armour, 
continued to be seen or heard, a well-known and dreaded object, 
and always appearing when any important member of the Loch 
Buy family was in danger or near death. The name of Ewen of 
the little head is still a power to frighten children in Mull and 
the neighbouring islands. In the Tcachdairc Gaelach of August, 
1830, there is a slightly dift'erent version of this legend, written 
with the usual vivid power of the Editor, Dr. Norman MacLeod. 
He gives it as if told at Zona, where a tombstone with the figure 
of a horseman in full armour was said to be that of Edghan a' 
chinn bhig; and the last vision of him, racily described, was 


said to have been only ' twelve years ago '. The reason given for 
the restless activity of E wen's spiiit is admirable — 'tliuit e 'n a 
thrasg ' — he fell fasting ! 


The season of Spring was more specially a matter of observa- 
tion and interest to our ancestors than any of the other seasons, 
on account of its importance as the time of year on the character 
of which their existence and comfort so much depended. Accord- 
ingly we find it di\àded into variotis periods, with fanciful 
names, founded, so far as their meaning can be guessed, on the 
imaginary causes of the various changes of weather. The longest 
of these is the Faoilleach, or Faoillteach, on the etymology of 
which Armstrong says, ' The original meaning was perhap.s the 
wolf month (fctol, a wolf), from the circumstance that wolves, 
with which the Highlands once abounded, became more daring 
and dangerous in the depth of ■winter. Faoilteach may also be 
derived from faoile, welcome, joy. The Highlanders regard 
stormy weather, towards the end of January as prognostic of a 
fruitful season to follow, and vice versa.' The former of these 
etymologies is supported by the word ' Wulfes-MdnaS,' said to 
have been the Anglo-Saxon name given to the month of January, 
Old Style, for the reason above mentioned. The other etymo- 
logy is supported by the rhyme given at p. 178, ante, 
Faoilleach, Faoilleach, làmh'au crios, 
Faoilte mhor bu choir 'bhi ris. 
The Faoilleach corresponded roughly to the present month of 
February, embracing the last two weeks of Winter, O.S., and the 
first two of Spring. Sometimes the first half was called the 
'Faoilleach Geamhraidh,' and the other half the 'Faoilleach 
Earraich '. 

Some time in this month three Summer days were supposed to 
come in exchange for three cold days lent to July, and the saying 
is, ' Tha tri la luchair 's an Fhaoilleach,' &c. — see ante, p. 363. 
The occurrence of such mild days early in February is still a matter 
of common observation, and is never considered seasonable. — See 
'Cha 'n 'eil port,' &c., ante, p. 116. 

After this came a week called the Feadag, the Plover or 
Whistle, so called probably because of the piping winds then 
prevalent. The following rhyme refers to it : — 

Thuirt an Fheadag ris an Fhaoilleach, 
' C'àit' an d'fhàg thu 'n laoighein bochd ? ' 
' Dh'fhàg mis' e aig cùl a' ghàraidh, 
'S a dhà shùil 'n a cheann 'nam ploc'. 

Said the Plover to the Stormy, 

' Where did'st leave the poor wee calf Ì ' 


' I left him behind the icall, 
With his eyes mere swollen lumps '. 
Another rhyme makes the Feadag the mother of the Faoilleach 
and of course preceding it, 

Feadag, Feadag, màthair Faoillich fhuair. 
For this, however, there is no other authority. 

After the Feadag came the Gearran, the Horse or Gelding, a 
period as to the duration of which authorities differ very consi- 
derably. The Highland Society's Dictionary, MacLeod and 
Dewar, and INIacAlpine, all make it 'the days from March 15th to 
April 11th inclusive,' four weeks. Aiinstrom: says, more vaguely 
than usual, that it is ' the latter end of February,' and no more. 
The saying given on p. 316, mite, ' Mios Faoillich,' &c., makes it 
two weeks, while several living authorities make it one week. 
The presumption is in favour of a short period, which is sup- 
ported l)y the only suggested meaning of the name Gearran 
(gearr-shian — H. S. Diet., McLeocl and Dewar), and the words 
' an gearran gearr ' in the rhyme given below. 

The Feadag is severe, but the Gearran is no better, as the 
rhyme says. 

Is mis' an Fheadag 16m, luirgneach, luath, 

Marbham caora, marbham uan ; 

Is mis an Gearran bacach ban, 

'Us cha mhi aon bhonn a 's fhearr ; 

Cuiream a' bhd anns an toll, 

Gus an tig an tonn thar a ceann. 

Fm the bare swift leggy Plover, 

I can kill both sheep and lamb ; ' 

I'm the white lame Gelding, 

And not one one bit better ; 

I'll put the cow into the hole, 

Till the wave comes o'er her head. 
or otherwise. 

An sin thuirt an Getirran gearr, 

Ni mi farran ort nach fhearr, 

Cuiridh mi 'bho mhdr 's a' phdll, &c. 
After the Gearran came the Cailleach or Old Woman, which lasted 
a week, — 12th to 18th April. The grass has by this time begun to 
grow, and the Cailleach, rejaresenting a hostile and withering in- 
fluence, sits down and tiles hard with her 'slachdan' ^ to beat down 

^ If this is to be taken as with any approximate accuracy characteris- 
ing the Seasons, it follows that lambing was earlier in those days 
than now. There are various indications in these old sayings that 
Spring and warm weather came sooner in former days than now. 

'^ A ' slachdan ' is a beetle ; but a more poetical version makes it 
'slacbdan-druidheachd,' magic wand. 


the grass, and keep it from growing. Finding her efforts vain, she 
flings away her mallet in wrath, and vanishes with a shriek into 
the realm of Night, exclaiming, 

Dh' fliàg e shios mi, dh' fhàg e shuas mi, 

Dh' fhàg e eadar mo dhà chlnais mi ; 

Dh' fhàg e thall mi, dh'fliàg e bhos mi, 

Dh' fliàg e eadar mo dlià chois mi ; 

Tilgeam seo 'am bun preas cuilinn, 

Far nach fas fiar no duiUeach ! 

It escapes me up and down, 
'Ttoixt my very ears has flown ; 
It escapes me here and there, 
'Twixt my feet and everywhere ; 
This 'neath holly tree Fll throw, 
Wliere no grass nor leaf shall groio ! 
This is a lively description, and the selection of the holly in par- 
ticular shows felicitous accuracy. 

After the abortive attempt of the Cailleach, the time came to 
sow, and that guamprimum : — 

Ge b'e 'r bith mar bhios an t-sian, 
Cuir do shiol anns a' Mhàrt. 
The ' Mart ' corresponded probably to the month of March, but 
it was used as a term for the sowing-season, more than for any 
definite period. The term 'Gibleann,' in like manner was ap- 
plied to the month of April. See ' Am fiar,' &c., p. 24. 

Another period not so commonly mentioned is the 'Gobag,' 
Little-Gab, or Dog-fish, sometimes called a week, sometimes 
three days, and coming in apparently between the Feadag and 
the Gearran. A saying that refers to it is, 

Feadagan 'us Gobagan e, tuilleadh gu Feill-Pàruig, 
which may be rendered, 

Whistling and biting winds on to St. Patrick's day, 
i.e., 30th March, O.S., when the equinoctial gales and worst 
weather should have passed. 

' Neòil dhiibha na Càisge,' the dark clouds of Easter, came in 
the fourth week of March, followed by the ' Glasadh na Cubhaig,' 
the cuckoo's greening, or preparation time. 

The Oisgean or Ewes, called 'tri la nan Oisgean,' the three days 
of the Ewes, or ' la nan trl Oisgean,' the day of the three Ewes, 
were three days immediately following' the Cailleach, which 
would bring them into the third week of April, O.S. The name 
suggests the "three borrowing days" of the Lowlands, but the 
period and character of the ' Oisgean ' is quite different. Accord- 
ing to the Lowland tradition (Chambers' Pop. Rhymes of Scotland, 
pp. 143, 4 ; Book of Days, I., 448) these three days were the last 
of March, and said to be borrowed from April. According to the 


English version, referred to by Sir Thomas Browne, and thus 
given by Eay, 

April borrows three days from March, and they are ill. 
The Stirlingshire version quoted by Chambers gives, as he says, 
the most dramatic account of this tradition, and seems to throw 
light on the Gaelic name, substituting 'hogs' for 'ewes,' though 
otherwise not satisfactory : — 

March said to Averill, 

' I see three hogs on yonder hill, 

And if you'll lend me dayis three, 

I'll find a way to gar them dee ' ! 

The first o' them was wind and weet. 

The second o' them was snaw and sleet, 

The third o' them was sic a freeze, 

It froze the birds' feet to the trees ; 

When the three days were past and gane,, 

The silly poor hogs cam' hirplin' hame. 

In point of fact the few days in March that might with any 
propriety be called ' borrowed ' are warm and summery, and not 
the opposite. The idea of April lending cold days to March 
seems rather absurd. 

Be that as it may, the three days of the ' Oisgean ' are more 
probably to be considered mild days borrowed from Summer than 
killing days borrowed from April. There is a Highland tradi- 
tion to that effect, which ascribes the origin of the Ìjorrowing to 
the three days allowed to the children of Israel for their journey 
into the wilderness to eat the Passover. That the name was 
derived from the idea that a few mild days are given in lambing 
time, for the sake of the ewes and lambs, is at once more probable 
and more pleasant than the opposite version. 

After the withering Cailleach comes the lively Sguabag, the 
Brushlet or Little Blast, and thenceforth the Spring goes on 
merrily— Suas e 'n t-Earrach ! — Up with the Spring ! Last of all 
came the pleasant Ceitein, foretaste of Summer, supposed to in- 
clude the three weeks up to 12th May ; followed by the cheery 
note of the Cuckoo on yellow May-day, 'La buidlie Bealltainn,' 
when the powers of Cold and Darkness have been overcome once 
more, and the world is gladdened by the returning reign of Light 
and Warmth. 

' Gach dan gu Dan an Deirg,' &c., p. 190. 

(1) Dan an Deirg has always been one of the most popular of 
Ossianic Ballads, though, in the various forms in which it has 
been handed down to us, its merits seem scarcely equal to its 
reputation. One verse, in one of the shorter versions, is singu- 


larly beautiful. The wife of the Dearg, whose love for her hus- 
band had been so silent and restrained that he felt doubtful of it, 
was thus expressed when the concocted story was brought to her 
of his having been killed, which killed her, — 

Chi mi 'n t-sheobhag, chi mi 'n cù, 

Leis an deanadh mo rim an t-sealg, 

'S na b' ionnmhuinn leis an triiiir, 

Càirear sinn 's an ùir le Dearg. 

/ see the hawk, I see the hound, 

With which my love was wont to chase; 

And as the three to him were dear, 

Let us xvith Dearg he laid in earth. 
See Campbell's Leahhar na Feinne, pp. 107-113, for the various 
versions, in which, however, the above will not be found ver- 

(2) Laoidh an Amadain Wioirhns always been held in great 
esteem as a suitable piece for recitation, tlie story being interesting. 
Mr. Campbell, in his West Highland Tales, III., 154, gives the 
best version of it hitherto printed, the text of which, however, is 
in some places very unsatisfactory. 

(3) ' Sgeul Chonnail,' the Tale of Connal. There are several 
tales of this name : the most elaborate is the story of Conall 
Gulban, given by Mr. Campbell in Vol. III., p. 188. 

(4) ' Cliù Eoghain.' For an account of this poem see Note to 
' B'tliasa Eoghan a chur air each,' ante p. 54. 

(5) ' Loch^Ce,' Lough Key, is described by Dr. O'Donovan, in 
his Notes to O'Daly's Tribes of Ireland (p. 38) as " a beautiful lake, 
with several islands, in the barony of Boyle, County of Eoseom- 
mon, near the margin of which stands Rockingham, the magnifi- 
cent residence of Lord Lorton ". 


' Is fliearr leum-iochd,' &c., p. 248. 

A different interpretation of this saying has been recei^-ed 
from Aberdeenshire, viz., that in lands allotted on the 'run-rig' 
system, the crofter who got a ' balk ' attached to his rig was 
considered luckier tlian his neighbour with a somewhat larger 
rig, but without the balk, the grass of which was of more than 
compensating value. The Rev. Mr. Michie of Dinnet has heard 
the above saying used in the Highlands of Aberdeenshire in this 

The customs as to the ' Cailleach ' and ' Maighdean-bhuana ' 
seem to have varied somewhat. Two reapers were iisually set to 
each rig, and according to one account, the man who was first done 
got the 'Maighdean-Bhuana,' or 'Reaping-Maiden,' while the man 
who was last got the 'Cailleach,' or 'old woman'. The latter term 


is used in Argylesliire ; the term 'Gobhar-bliacach,' the lame goat, 
is used in .Skye. 

According to what appears to be the better version, the competi- 
tion to avoid the 'Cailleach' was not between reapers but between 
neighbouring crofters, and the man who got his harvest done first 
sent a handful of corn called the 'Cailleach' to his neighbour, who 
passed it on, till it landed with him who was latest. That man's 
penalty was to provide for the dearth of the township, gort a' bhaile, 
in the ensuing season. 

The ' Maighdean-Bhuana,' again, was the last cut handful of 
oats, on a croft or farm, and was an object of lively competition 
among the reapers. It was tastefully tied up witli ribbons, gene- 
rally dressed like a doll, and then hung up on a nail till Spring. 
On the first day of ploughing, it was solemnly taken down, and 
given as a 'Sainnseal' or handsel for luck to the horses. It was 
meant as a symbol that the harvest had been secured, and to 
ward off the Fairies, representatives of the ethereal and unsub- 
stantial, till the time came to provide for a new crop. 

Jamieson in his Scot. Diet. s.v. ' Maiden,' ' Carlin,' Eapegyrne,' 
' Kirn,' and ' Claaick,' gives some interesting information regard- 
ing this ancient custom, which was not peculiar to Scotland. He 
says the harvest-home, when early finished, was called in Aber- 
deenshire the Maiden Claaick, when as late as Hallowmas, the 
Carlin Claaick ( = ' Cailleach '). Additional particulars regarding 
the Aberdeenshire customs will be found in the Rev. Walter 
Gregor's work on the Folk-lord of the North-East of Scotland. 



The good man to whom we are indebted for the first collection 
of Celtic Proverbs ever made was born in 1743, at Orchilmore, 
near Killiecrankie, on the north side of the Garry. His father 
was originally a cooper, married early in life, retired to his 
native Orchilmore, and there spent the rest of his days as a 
small farmer or crofter. According to Campbell, he was "des- 
cended from the ancient Thanes of Glentilt," a claim which 
need not be called in question. These Thanes, formerly Stewarts, 
and before that Macdonalds, appear to have used the name of 
'Toshach' (sounded long, Tòiseach = First), as a sm-name, in 1501 
(Skene's Celtic Scotlaiid, Vol. III., p. 273), and that of 'Mac 
Toschy ' as early as 1382 (Id. p. 358). Macintosh, in Gaelic Mac- 
an-Tòisich, means the Son of the Toiseach, or Captain. After at- 
tending the parish school, and acting for some time as teacher to 
the younger members of his father's family, and such of the neigh- 
bouring children as were committed to his care, Donald removed 
to Edinburgh, in the hope of bettering his fortune. He probably 
found some difficulty in getting any congenial occiipation there. 


and Campbell says he remembers seeing him in 1774 or 1775, as 
one of Peter Williamson's Penny Post men, " with his bell in his 
hand, and uniform cap on his head, on which were painted in gilt 
letters 'Williamson's Penny Post,' alternately collecting and 
delivering letters in his useful though humble vocation ". He 
next found employment as a copying clerk, and after that for 
some time as tutor in the family of Stewart of Gairntully. There 
was at that time some wakening of literary activity in the direc- 
tion of Gaelic poetry and antiquities, stimulated no doubt by the 
success of Macpherson's Ossianic labours. Macintosh appears to 
have done something in the way of collecting old poetry, but 
being of a very modest disposition, he preferred to assist others 
than to attempt anything in that line on his own responsibility. 
One piece got by him in Lochaber in 1784 from a namesake of 
his own, John Macintosh, 'Ceardach Mhic Luin,' appears in 
Gillies's Seem Dana, p. 233. The idea of making a collection of 
Proverbs and old sayings was a happy one, and the merit of it 
appears to be entirely due to Macintosh himself. His design, as 
expressed in the ' Advertisement ' prefixed to his collection, was 
" to preserve the language, and a few remains of the ancient cus- 
toms of Scotland, by bringing so many of the proverbial sayings 
of the people into one point of %'iew ". In this laudable under- 
taking he received sixfficient encouragement and assistance. He 
returns special thanks to Sir James Foulis of Colinton, for the use 
of "some valuable Gaelic MSS.," to Professor Ferguson, "a gen- 
tleman to whom this coimtry is much indebted," and to ÌS'eil 
Ferguson, Esq. of Pitcullo. Others to whom he renders his thanks 
are the Rev. John Stewart of Luss, Rev. James Maclagan, Blair 
AthoU, Rev. Joseph Macgregor, Edinburgh, Mr. William Morri- 
son, WTÌter in Edinburgh, and Mr. Robert Macfarlane, schoolmaster, 
" all of whom were particularly obliging, having procured him 
the perusal of many curious manuscripts, which considerably 
augmented this collection". Nor does he orait a special paragraph 
of thanks " to John Macintosh from Lochaber, formerly a tenant 
under Macdonald of Keppoch, a worthy, honest man, well versed 
in old Gaelic sayings ". Campbell says that a considerable pro- 
portion of the collection was got from this man in 1784, and that 
previous to this the collector had got a valuable and extensive 
portion of his materials from John Wallace, residing at Lettoch, 
near Moulin. 

In addition to those above-mentioned as having assisted the 
collector, Campbell mentions the venerable Henry Mackenzie, 
the ' Man of Feeling,' as one of those who gave him the benefit 
of their literary judgment and advice. 

The following is the Title page of the book — 

A Collection of Gaelic Proverbs and Familiar Phrases ; 
Accompanied with an English Translation, Intended to facili- 
tate the Study of the Language ; illustrated with Notes. To 
which is added, the Way to Wealth, by Dr. Franklin, trans- 


lated into Gaelic. By Donald Macintosh. Ge d' dh' èignichear 
an sean-fhocal, cha bhreugaichear e. Edinljurgh : Printed for the 
Author, and sold by Messrs. Donaldson, Creech, Elliot, and 
SiBBALD, Booksellers, Edinburgh ; John Gillies, Perth ; James 
Gillies, Glasgow, and by all the Booksellers in Town and 
Country. MDCCLXXXV. 

The modest little book was dedicated " to the Right Honour- 
able David, Earl of Buchan, Lord Cardross, Founder and President 
of the Society of Scots Antiquaries," &c., in appropriately warm 
and complimentary terms. The Proverbs, with translation on the 
opposite page, occupied 142 pp. The translation of Franklin's 
'Way to Wealth' was done by R. Macfarlane above-mentioned, 
by desire of the Earl of Buchan. In a short address in Gaelic 
prefixed to it, from the Earl to the Highlanders of Scotland, he 
says he was the first man who donned their manly dress in the 
Lowlands, after the prohibition of it was revoked, and that in 
time of snow and storm. 

Soon after the publication of the book, Macintosh obtained 
employment in the office of Mr. Davidson, Deputy-Keeper of the 
Signet and Crown-Agent, in which he continued for several years. 
A more distinguished but less substantial acknowledgment of his 
merits was his appointment on 30th Nov., 1785, as ' Clerk for the 
Gaelic Language' to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. 
There was no salary attached to the office, which Macintosh held 
till 1789, when it was reported that there was a vacancy in it " by 
the removal from Edinburgh of Mr. Donald Mackintosh," and the 
Rev. Joseph Robertson Mac.gregor was chosen " Secretary for the 
Gaelic Language ". The office was abolished long ago. Macin- 
tosh presented a number of things, chiefly coins, to the Society. 
Among others were " A piece of Prince Charles Edward's brogues, 
which he left with Mr. M'Donald of Kingsburgh in 1746, now in 
the possession of Mr. Oliphant of Gask," and " A parcel of that 
Prince's hair". 

The death of Prince Charles Edward in 1788 led to a curious 
result in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and an important change 
in the career of Donald Macintosh. In the lofty language of his 
biographer, it "paved the way for a more exalted station in 
society," that, viz., of a priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church. 

" Well do I remember," says Campbell, " the day on which the 
name of George was mentioned in the morning service for the 
first time — such blowing of noses — such significant hems — such 
half-suppressed sighs — such smothered groans, and universal con- 
fusion, can hardly be conceived ! But the deed was done — and 
those who had participated could not retract." Some staunch 
Jacobites, however, who held that the person to be prayed for, as 
King of Great Britain and Ireland, was not George but Henry 
(Cardinal York), protested against what they called a 'schism' on 
the part of their weaker brethren, and forthwith formed them- 
selves into a separate body, claiming to be the true old Scots 


Episcopal Chnrch as by law established after the Eestoration. 
How many clergymen remained true to the White Cockade cannot 
be ascertained. The number must have been very small, but it 
included one prelate, Bishop Rose, now far advanced in life, and 
described by Campbell, himself a warm Jacobite, as " almost in 
his dotage". He resided at Doune (called by Campbell 'Down'), 
and there a Mr. Brown, of the same persuasion, was consecrated 
as his coadjutor and successor. On the death of Bishop Rose, 
Bishop Brown, says Campbell, " had to look about him for a 
successor, and who should fall in his way but the subject of this 
memoir ". From this it would appear that Bro'mi was now the 
sole representative of the nonjurant Episcopal clergy of Scotland, 
as Macintosh became after his death. In June, 1789, Macintosh 
was ordained Deacon by Bishop BroA^Ti, and thereafter, in due 
time, Priest. This, doubtless, was the cause of his removal from 
Edinburgh in 1789. "Here then," says Campbell, "we hail our 
worthy countryman placed in a relatively higher position in 
society than even his predecessors the Thanes of Glentilt." In 
touching contrast with this elevation is Macintosh's simple state- 
ment in his Petition to the Court of Session, that he officiated 
at first with a salary of £5, thereafter £8, from a Fund raised in 
1739 for the relief of poor Scottish Episcopal clergymen, with the 
addition of £1 from the interest of £100 bequeathed by a Mrs. 
Buntine to that Fund. Campbell gives no information as to Mac- 
intosh's residence from 1789 to 1794. The probability is that he 
had no fixed residence, but moved from place to place, as a 
missionary or untitled bishop of Jacobite Episcopacy, till he 
finally settled in Edinburgh. Even after that it appears, so far 
as anything definite can be gathered from Campbell, that he made 
an annual tour through the Perthshire Highlands, by Loch Kat- 
rine and Glenfinlas, on to Glen Tilt, up to Glenshee, and as far 
north as Banff", administering the sacraments and religious instruc- 
tion among the scattered remnant who owned his pastoral autho- 
rity. Campbell, with characteristic .grandeur, says, " The destinies 
willed it not that he should enjoy his exalted station long with 
dignified ease and honour ; for his reverend brethren, who had 
' bowed the knee to Baal,' questioned the validity of his ordination, 
which embittered his life in secret, and caused other embarrass- 
ments, particularly to those well-meaning individuals who consi- 
dered him as the only spiritual pastor left of the true Church, 
against which ' the gates of hell should not prevail '. Meanwhile 
our compiler pursued his path of duty as a clergyman, but did not 
forget those secular pursuits which went hand in hand with his 
more serious avocations." In 1794 Macintosh distinguished him- 
self by raising an action in the Court of Session against the 
Managers of the Fund above-mentioned, to which he claimed sole 
right, as the only representative of the true Scottish Episcopal 
Church. In the Petition he is described a.s ' Episcopal Minister 
in Bailie Fvfe's Close '. The action was dismissed with a some- 


what unnecessary display of wit and loyalty on tlie part of the 
Court, the Lord President, Sir Hay Campbell, remarking that he 
was "at a loss whether to frown at the audaciousness of the 
pursuer, or to smile at the high pitch of folly of his witless 
advisers, in wantonly thrusting a plea of so extraordinary a 
nature into his Majesty's Supreme Court of Justice. What ! a 
person claiming a right in virtue of his refractory adherence to 
obsolete opinion, long since exploded — nay, glorying in his dis- 
loyalty to the best of kings and existing governments." 

From the ' Session Papers ' (Campbell's Coll., 103) containing 
some of the Prints in this case, the following additional facts have 
been got. The Petition, with which the case commenced, sets 
forth that the Petitioner is " a minister of the Scots Episcopal 
Church, and pastor of a congregation of that persuasion, which, 
though respectable, is far from being numerous ; that the income 
he derives from them is, and always has been, altogether insuffi- 
cient to raise him above indigence, from which he was for many 
years saved almost entirely by a small pension of £9 a-year, paid 
him from a fund held by Trustees for the relief of Scots Episcopal 
Clergymen in his situation ; that of this salary he has been de- 
privecl by the present defenders," &c. The prayer of the petition 
was to ordain the defenders to pay him this £9 per annum from 
1795 onwards, "or such salary as to the Court seems proper". 
The ground for refusing the petition seems to have been, that the 
Petitioner declined to take the oaths to the existing government, 
and to pray by name for King George, which an Act passed in 
1792, repealing all penal statutes against the Episcopal Clergy, 
and restoring the privileges formerly conferred on them, prescribed 
as a condition of such restoration. 

In 1801 Macintosh was appointed Gaelic Translator and Keeper 
of Gaelic Records to the Highland Society of Scotland, in succes- 
sion to Mr. Robert Macfarlane, which office he held till his death. 
A salary of £10 a-year was attached to it. That it was not a 
sineciire is indicated by the Catalogues of Gaelic MSS. belonging to 
the Highland Society and others, given in Vol. III. of the London 
Highland Society's Ossian, pp. 566-573. These were compiled by 
Macintosh, who also transcribed some of the MSS. The office of 
Gaelic Translator and Keeper of MSS. to the Highland Society 
was conferred after Macintosh's death on the Rev. John Campbell, 
who held it till 1814, after which it was not again filled up. 

Macintosh's circumstances were somewhat improved in his later 
years, though his income was but small. Campbell mentions two 
legacies left to him by kindly members of his scattered but faith- 
ful flock, one of £100, by Mrs. Eagle, Edinburgh, another of £150 
by Mrs. Paterson, Banff. " These sums," says Campbell, " together 
with his annual savings, enabled him to leave behind him a pro- 
perty, which he apportioned in several small legacies, as specified 
in his vsdll." In that will, which Campbell had before him, but 
of which, with all his other MSS., no other trace can be found, 


he thus cle?iimated himself: "I, the Reverend Donald Macintosh, 
a priest of liie Old Scots Episcopal Church, and last of the non- 
jiirant clergy in Scotland." 

In 1808 his health rapidly failed ; he was unable to undertake 
his annual journey to the Highlands ; he made his will, set his 
house in order, called in the Rev. Mr. Adam, of Blackfriars' Wynd 
Episcopal Chapel, received the Sacrament from his hands, and 
soon after, on 22d November 1808, breathed his last. He was 
respectably buried in the Greyfriars' Churchyard, but no stone 
marks the spot where he was laid. 

Macintosh never married. " He had a taste," says Campbell, 
" for his native melodies, and performed them not unskiKully on 
the violin." He even extended his musical accomplishments so 
far as to play upon the spinet. He purchased an old one for a 
few shillings, took lessons from a lady, and in less than two 
months "he could thrum nicely ' I'll mak' ye fain to follow me'." 

The chief part of the "property" above-mentioned consisted 
of his library, which, considering the smallness of his income, did 
much credit to his literary taste. This collection, numbering 
about 2000 volumes, he bequeathed, after the worthy example of 
a greater man, the saintly Leighton, " for the purpose of estab- 
lishing a library in the town of Dunkeld, under such regulations 
for the preservation of my books and manuscripts, and for pro- 
moting the access of the public thereto, as to the said trustees 
shall seem good ". The books were chiefly connected with Scot- 
tish history, political and ecclesiastical, and included a considerable 
collection of pamphlets, about 60 vols. The bequest was accepted 
and carried out, and the library is still maintained in Dunkeld, 
under the name of " The Mackintosh Library," to which nume- 
rous additions have from time to time been made. None of 
Macintosh's MSS., however, appear to have found their way to 
Dunkeld. At any rate, they are not there now, nor can they be 
traced to any other quarter, with the exception of some unim- 
portant documents, believed to be in his handwriting, among the 
Gaelic MSS. in the Advocates' Library. Their value may not have 
been great, but it is to be regretted that the wish of the estimable 
testator in regard to them was not respected. In the Edinburgh 
L'niversity Library what appears to be his handwriting will be 
found, in a copy of the Gaelic ' Blessing of the Ship,' appended 
to the old copy of Carsewell's Prayer-Book. 

There is no authority for spelling the name of ' Donald Macin- 
tosh ' otherwise than as it appears in the only authentic specimen 
of it under his own hand, in the first edition of his book. In the 
second edition, and in various other notices of him, the ' k ' is 
introduced, which some people think of importance. The ' k ' is 
harmless, but quite superfluovts, as much so to Mac Intosh as to 
Mac Indoe, Mac Inroy, or Mac Intyre. Its omission has the 
authority, so far as any is required, of two such Celtic scholars 
and historians as Gregory and Skene.